Interactive performance and focus groups with adolescents: The power of play

Anne E. Norris, Karen J. Aroian, Stefanie Warren, Jeff Wirth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Conducting focus groups with adolescents can be challenging given their developmental needs, particularly with sensitive topics. These challenges include intense need for peer approval, declining social trust, short attention span, and reliance on concrete operations thinking. In this article, we describe an adaptation of interactive performance as an alternative to traditional focus group method. We used this method in a study of discrimination experienced by Muslims (ages 13-17) and of peer pressure to engage in sexual behavior experienced by Hispanic girls (ages 10-14). Recommendations for use of this method include using an interdisciplinary team, planning for large amounts of disclosure towards the end of the focus group, and considering the fit of this method to the study topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-679
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent development
  • Focus groups
  • Interactive performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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