Hispanic females in their late adolescence appear to be disproportionately affected by dating violence, yet the majority of victims never seek out formal services. The purpose of this study was to explore the dating violence and help-seeking experiences of Hispanic females in their late adolescence. Participants were recruited from a social service agency providing wrap-around services to individuals and families affected by abuse in South Florida. Eleven in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with Hispanic female victims of dating violence in their late adolescence (18 to 24 years of age) in English or Spanish. A thematic analysis of transcripts identified four major themes: (a) conflict, culture, and context influences Hispanic couples; (b) missed opportunities to accessing help; (c) pivotal moments are needed to access formal services; and (d) family matters. Participants of this study believed that dating violence was more normative in Hispanic relationships than "American" relationships. Although participants had opportunities to seek formal services early in their relationships, formal services were only sought after pivotal moments. Families played an important role in supporting or further victimizing the participants. Findings from this study can be used to inform interventions addressing both informal and formal sources of support for Hispanic female victims of dating violence in their late adolescence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Phychiatric Mental Health