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Why early adolescence is an important time to promote healthy relationships and prevent dating violence David A. Wolfe, Ph.D. Centre for Prevention Science.

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Presentation on theme: "Why early adolescence is an important time to promote healthy relationships and prevent dating violence David A. Wolfe, Ph.D. Centre for Prevention Science."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why early adolescence is an important time to promote healthy relationships and prevent dating violence David A. Wolfe, Ph.D. Centre for Prevention Science CAMH/University of Toronto

2 Why Relationships are Key Developmental goals and transitions ▫Autonomy / transition / experimentation / intimacy ▫Pre-frontal cortex development/judgment Gender differences in learning to relate ▫boys become more proficient at negotiating group dynamics (and are more attuned to status hierarchies) ▫girls become more proficient at negotiating the dyadic context (and are more attuned to relationship maintenance and compromise).

3 Negative Peer and Social Influences Pressure to conform  gender-role expectations Media images and messages  poor choices Wide acceptance of abuse and violence against identifiable groups (e.g., girls, gays) Additional risks posed by substance use and sexual intimacy

4 Negotiating Choices Life style choices begin in adolescence Adolescent romantic experiences provide a developmentally important opportunity to learn about intimacy skills romantic relationships are a common source of jealousy, anger, and frustration for youth learning to negotiate conflict (and break-ups) with a romantic partner is a normative developmental task

5 The Plan:  All teens need accurate information and exposure to positive models  Help youth strengthen relationship skills to assist in making safe, responsible choices  Address the common elements of multiple risk behaviors (re: goals of adolescence)  Counteract pro-abuse messages from peer culture (gender, race, sexual orientation)  Emphasize positive message of safety and harm reduction (prepare, not scare)  Provide opportunities to develop assets and strengths (build youth connections)

6 CAMH Centre for Prevention Science 100 Collip Circle, Suite 100 London, ON N6G 4X8


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