"I know what love means": Qualitative descriptions from Mexican American and White adolescents

Lela Williams, Kristine E. Hickle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

A qualitative approach was used to explore the meaning of being in love for Mexican American and White adolescents. Adolescents' written descriptions were coded using inductive content analysis. Five broader love themes encompassing five additional subthemes emerged: commitment (sacrifice and time); intimacy (friendship, trust, and caring); reciprocity; unconditional acceptance; and unsure/unknown. Mexican American adolescents mentioned intimacy components, White adolescent boys mentioned commitment components, and White adolescents and girls mentioned unconditional acceptance components in their self-definitions of love more than their counterparts. Understanding the meaning of love has implications for prevention efforts targeted at reducing the health risks associated with romantic relationships in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-600
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 13 2010

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Content analysis
  • Romantic relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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