Use of the Term Healthy Relationships in Adolescent Romantic Relationship Prevention Maja Mesarec Hercog
Summary: Adolescent romantic relationships are an important aspect of adolescents lives and they can be a risk factor for various problems. This is why they have become an important area of scientific research, and various prevention programs have begun to develop. For the past few decades this has been an important part of research and prevention but in Slovenia we are just beginning to encounter prevention programs on the topic of adolescent romantic relationships. The term, which is used in this field of prevention is healthy relationships. Programs are designed to teach adolsecents how to recognize healthy relationships. At the same time, the adequacy of this term is often underestimated. The term healthy relationships derives from medical discourse and assumes that some relationships are healthy, which in turn means that others are not (they are unhealthy). This means that the programs work on the basis of a norm that presupposes a boundary between a healthy and not a healthy relationship, which, however, cannot be set so easily. The accurate term is important as it affects the content of the programs. The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the term healthy relationships through discourse analysis and to propose a new one that would originate in pedagogical and not medical discourse and thus open the possibility of a program that would allow individuality and personal choice of how someone wants to live their relationship.