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Let's Get Digital: Understanding Adolescent Romantic Relationships Using Naturalistic Assessments of Digital Communication

NCJ Number
Child Development Perspectives Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Dated: 2019 Pages: 104-109
Date Published
6 pages
This article discusses the potential theoretical and methodological benefits of collecting and coding digital communication data to understand adolescent romantic relationships; suggests ways to use these data to develop innovative prevention tools; and addresses potential challenges in collecting digital communication data from adolescents.

Adolescent romantic relationships involve complex patterns of interaction. Innovative technological advances offer opportunities to capture features and dynamics of these relationships that traditional research methods have not addressed. With the explosion of digital communication platforms (e.g., mobile texting, direct messaging, social media applications), researchers can now observe and understand adolescent relationships in vivo, offering for the first time a naturalistic lens into adolescent worlds. Recognizing this scientific opportunity, the current article provides practical guidance on what research objectives are served by such digital communications data and research methods for obtaining these digital data. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019