Points of view of Chilean adolescents about asking for help and suggestions to prevent dating violence based on an ecological systems theory
Tatiana Sanhueza, Geneviève Lessard, Maruzzella Valdivia-Peralta, Cecilia Bustos-Ibarra
While several programs have been developed to prevent dating violence, few have been evaluated. Likewise, few studies have documented adolescents’ viewpoints on how prevention should be done. The current qualitative study seeks to strategically fill a gap in knowledge regarding the points of view of Chilean adolescents about the strategies that are best suited to prevent this problem and what is relevant content for prevention programs. This paper is part of a broader study on adolescents’ social representations of dating violence. The study’s aim was to explore Chilean adolescents’ points of view about asking for help and their suggestions about how to prevent dating violence. The sample included 48 Chilean adolescents, 26 girls (54.1%) and 22 boys (45.8%) between 14 and 18 years old, recruited from public and private schools, who were interviewed with a focus group method. The study consisted of two phases; the results of the second phase are discussed in this manuscript. The results are useful for the development of an appropriate socio-political response to this social and public health problem. Participants identified friends and parents as more common sources from whom to seek help than teachers and health professionals. The severity of dating violence and ensuing injuries are the main reasons for asking for help. In addition, gender is considered a central prevention issue in a changing Chilean cultural context. According to the ecological systems theory, prevention strategies based on the environment of adolescents at multiple levels (individual, interpersonal, community, and social) and in multiple components have been recommended.