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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The role of gender norms in adolescent boys' navigation of romantic relationships Dmytro, Dana


Focus group discussions were analyzed to gain a better understanding of adolescent boys’ psychosocial processes of navigating their romantic relationships. In particular, the role of gender norms in boys’ navigation of romantic relationships was explored. Using grounded theory methodology, focused discussions were held with 23 boys in Grades 9 through 12 at high schools in an urban school district. The central phenomenon identified to be occurring during these participants’ relationship navigation was getting experienced in dating. Six other categories were identified: initiating dating relationships, benefiting/”gaining” from relationships, communication, managing relationship issues, relationship breakdown, and disengaging from dating. Contextual conditions were also found to be influencing participants’ relationship navigation: struggling to be confident, social/digital media culture, peers’ perceptions, parental expectations, multicultural context, female gender stereotypes, and finally, masculine gender norms. The significance of the findings in relation to boys’ relationship navigation, social and emotional learning, the development of psycho-educational interventions, and the implications for school psychologists are discussed.

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