Intimate relationships during adolescence serve an important developmental role by increasing youths’ capabilities of forming healthy relationships in adulthood. Although attention has recently been given to a variety of issues related to adolescent romantic relationships, including dating violence prevention and intimate sexual activity, little is known about the psychosocial processes that youths engage in while navigating intimate friendships and other kinds of relationships. To understand further the factors that differentially influence adolescents in a variety of communities, we are exploring boys’ and girls’ focused discussions regarding how they make sense, anticipate and navigate dating relationships and same-gender friendships. Discussions were held with boys and girls in grades 9 through 12, separated by gender and grade in a relatively uni-cultural rural community in New Brunswick and multicultural urban neighbourhoods in British Columbia.
Grounded Theory was used to determine the core theme in rural teens’ relationship negotiations: Wrestling with gendered expectations. Six related subthemes further explicated the core category of navigating relationships: Determining responsibility, Keeping it in/letting it out, Standing up for oneself, Making sacrifices, Building trust/not trusting, and Showing respect/showing disrespect. Media influences also emerged as a contextual condition through which the teenagers in our rural study considered relationships. The continuation of our studies focuses on urban teens to explore the factors that differentially influence multicultural urban teens’ relationship perspectives from those of more uni-cultural rural adolescents. Further explorations are being pursued in querying confidence in digital social media and face-to-face interactions with all types of friends.
• Gill, H., Ritchie, K., Gerhardt, E. L., Wilson, K. M., & Cameron, C.A. (in press). Parental and social factors substantiate thriving during the transition to university. International Journal of Children, Youth, and Family Studies.
• Cameron, C.A. & Mascarena, A. (2019). Digital social media in adolescents’ negotiating real virtual romantic relationships. In M. Desjarlais (Ed.), The psychology and dynamics behind social media interactions (pp. 83-106). IGI Global Publishers.
• Gerhardt, E., Kean, S., Hunt, A.K., Ritchie, K. & Cameron, C.A. (2019, June). Thriving in the transition to university [Poster presentation]. The 80th Canadian Psychological Association Convention, Halifax, NS, Canada.
• Richard, M. E., & Cameron, C. A. (2021, June). Social expectations of masculinity challenge adolescent boys’ navigations of dating. In Supporting healthy adolescent communication within digital era relationships [Symposium]. Annual meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, virtual conference.
• Li, Y., Duan, T., Xu, A., Yao, E. (2021, March). Asian Canadian teen’s perceptions of masculine gender norms in a multicultural context [Presentation]. Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (UBC), Vancouver, BC, Canada [Virtual conference].
• Richard, M., Wilson, K., Li, Y., Xu, A., Song, J., Cameron, C.A. (2021, October). Struggling for confidence despite gendered expectations: Adolescents’ navigational challenges in dating relationships [Presentation]. Canadian Sex Research Forum [Virtual conference].
• Richard, M.E., Knutson, J.M., Gill, H. & Cameron, C.A. (2019, June). How gender norms influence adolescent boys’ navigation of romantic relationships. “It’s bullshit, but it’s reality.” [Poster presentation]. The 80th Canadian Psychological Association. Halifax, NS, Canada.
• Mascarenas, A., Knutson, J.M., Gill, H., Gerhardt, E. & Cameron, C.A. (2019, June). Teenagers’ real virtual relationships [Poster presentation]. The 80th Canadian Psychological Association Convention, Halifax, NS, Canada.
• Richard, M.E. & Cameron C.A. (2019, May). Adolescent boys’ navigating romantic relationships: “The big, blank check to cover everyone is communication and confidence, ‘cause they’re both lacking.” [Presentation]. The 36th Annual Qualitative Analysis Conference, Fredericton, NB, Canada.
• Richard, M.E., Gill, H. & Cameron C.A. (2019, January). How short-term gain and gender norms influence adolescent boys’ navigation of romantic relationships: “Getting experienced in dating.” [Poster presentation]. The National Collegiate Research Conference, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
• Cameron, C.A., Luft, T., Dmytro, D., Kubiliene, N., & Chou, W. (2017). Adolescents negotiating romantic relationships in a culturally diverse, urban community. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 8(1), 1-19. https://doi.org/ 10.18357/ijcyfs81201716739
• Dmytro, D., Luft. T., Hoard, R., Jenkins, M., & Cameron, C.A. (2013). Rural adolescent boys’ negotiating romantic relationships: ‘We need to sacrifice our brains’. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 47(3), 361-382. https://cjc-rcc.ucalgary.ca/article/view/60925
• Luft, T., Jenkins, M., & Cameron, C.A. (2012). Rural adolescent girls’ negotiating healthy and unhealthy romantic relationships. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 46(3), 259-276. https://cjc-rcc.ucalgary.ca/article/view/59878
Our lab contributed to a Children and Screens webinar about youth and communication in the digital age. Here’s the link to the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkPfWWBuk4Q