Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Communication Studies and Philosophy

Committee Chair(s)

Matthew Sanders


Matthew Sanders


Kaitlin Phillips


Sydney O'Shay


Teen Dating Violence (TDV) has lasting impacts on teens’ health and well-being. Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships (DM), a curriculum published by the CDC in 2019, seeks to mitigate the consequences of TDV and promote healthy relationships. Using Grounded Practical Theory (Craig & Tracy, 1995, 2014), this paper analyzes how DM conceptualizes communication. Specifically, I explore and critique how DM discusses topics related to communication and conflict. The findings of the analysis show that DM focuses on sending the right message in communication. In DM, parents and teens are encouraged to “talk it out” or “speak up” when facing various problems, while not being taught how to do this or what the process may look like. DM also frames conflict negatively and does not teach effective conflict management strategies. While this curriculum is well-intentioned and effective in some ways, it could improve by incorporating a more sophisticated view of communication and evidence-based practices from communication research. As this is the first study to take a communicative approach to understand TDV prevention, it can be used to guide future TDV prevention efforts and encourage researchers and practitioners to use communication theory in their interventions.