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Madkour, Aubrey Spriggs; Swiatlo, Alison D.; Talan, Allison; LeSar, Kendra; Broussard, Marsha; Kendall, Carl; & Seal, David W. (2019). Sources of Help for Dating Violence Victims: A Qualitative Inquiry into the Perceptions of African American Teens. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 34(21-22), 4404-4420.


Although teen dating violence victims' reticence in seeking help from adults is well documented, little is known about youths' comparative perceptions of the types of help offered by and effectiveness of various sources. This qualitative study solicited teens' perceptions of sources of help for victims using in-depth interviews with African American youth (ages 13-18) in two public high schools in New Orleans (N = 38). Participants were recruited purposively by researchers during lunchtime and via referral by school personnel. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded independently by two study team members. Thematic content analyses were conducted. Teens reported that victims were most likely to seek help from friends, who were largely expected to provide advice and comfort. Nearly half reported that teens would be likely to seek help from family, who would provide more active responses to dating violence (i.e., reporting to authorities, confronting the abuser). Fewer respondents believed teens would seek help from other adults, such as school personnel, who were also perceived as likely to enlist outside authorities. Fears about lack of confidentiality and over-reaction were the main perceived barriers to accessing help from adults. Furthermore, although respondents believed teens would be less likely to seek help from adults, adults were perceived as more effective at stopping abuse compared with peers. Interventions that train peer helpers, explain confidentiality to teens, increase school personnel's ability to provide confidential counseling, and promote use of health services may improve access to help for teen dating violence victims.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Interpersonal Violence


Madkour, Aubrey Spriggs
Swiatlo, Alison D.
Talan, Allison
LeSar, Kendra
Broussard, Marsha
Kendall, Carl
Seal, David W.