Trust, cheating, and dating violence in mexican american adolescent romantic relationships

Lela Rankin Williams, Heidi Adams Rueda, Julieann Nagoshi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    Many adolescents experience some aspect of cheating in their romantic relationships, yet developmental and cultural influences on this experience are not well understood. A grounded theory approach was used to uncover the processes through which cheating resulted in dating violence among 64 Mexican American adolescents (15 to 17 years old). Focus groups, separated by level of acculturation and gender (N = 20), revealed paradoxical expectations for trust and cheating in romantic relationships. Low acculturated youth, particularly males, held broader definitions of cheating behaviors, used peers to monitor cheating behaviors, and took breaches of cheating more seriously. Males were perceived as more likely to cheat, to cheat because of their diminished desire for commitment, and to use violence in reaction to cheating behavior. It is recommended that teen dating violence prevention programs use culturally attuned curricula that incorporate the integral role of peers and gendered norms and expectations within adolescents’ dating relationships.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)339-360
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of the Society for Social Work and Research
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


    • Acculturation
    • Adolescence
    • Gender
    • Grounded theory
    • Qualitative

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Sociology and Political Science


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