Adolescent girls' perspectives of family interactions related to menarche and sexual health

  • Teitelman A
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Abstract

In this study, the author explores what girls learn at menarche from family about acknowledging and accepting positive feelings in relation to their bodies and about making active decisions regarding their bodies and potential sexual practices. The author conducted in-depth individual interviews with 22 African American, European American, and multiethnic girls, aged 14 to 18 years, from both high- and low-income families. She employed an interpretive methodological approach using narrative analysis. The results of this study revealed that girls who were prepared for the physical changes at menarche were better able to acknowledge and accept this bodily change. Also, when girls'wider potentials, such as intellectual or creative capacities, were recognized, they were more likely to describe pleasurable aspects associated with this transition. In contrast, when sex and reproduction were referenced, girls were more likely to associate fear, shame, dysfunction, and victimization with their bodies.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Communication
  • Menarche
  • Parenting
  • Sexual health

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