Physical Violence as a Source of Positive Self-perception for Adolescent Girls

Rahel Heeg


Little is known about physically violent behavior in female adolescents (especially in German speaking countries). Problem-centered interviews with 21 Swiss girls who regularly use(d) physical violence were conducted. The study is based on  grounded theory methodology with which the meaning of violence for the interviewed girls was reconstructed. The focus of the study was to find out how girls with a history of physical violent behavior reflect upon their use of violence against others. Results show that these meanings differ according to the relationship to the parents. The focus of this article is on girls with a close and positive relationship to their parents. Two case studies were selected for this article. Results show that these girls perceive themselves as positive, strong, and independent while using violence. Furthermore, these girls selectively perform violence only against people who are less important to them. In contrast, they comply with rules and expectations from people who are important to them. Therefore, one can conclude that their self-perception of strength and independence is situation-specific.



youth violence; female violence; methodology of grounded theory; case study; problem-centered interview; self-concept; self-perception


Copyright (c) 2013 Rahel Heeg

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