Traditional gender roles translating into behaviors within adolescents’ romantic relationships

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Elena M. Jerves, Ph. D.
Ana Cevallos-Neira, Mg.
Lucia De Haene
Peter Rober, Ph. D.
Paul Enzlin, Ph. D.


While several studies suggest that traditional gender ideologies are strongly embedded in Latino populations, little is known about the way they operate in adolescent’s romantic relationships. This mixedmethods study was carried out with adolescents in Cuenca, Ecuador. In the quantitative component, we assessed adolescents’ support for traditional gender ideologies in a sample of 562 adolescents (n = 309 girls). It was identified that the majority of adolescents were “uncritical” towards traditional ideologies involving masculinity (82%) and femininity (79%). In the qualitative component, the narratives of a sample of 20 adolescents reflected existing discourses on traditional gender roles and revealed how these ideologies are translated into specific behaviors. In this context, romantic relationships can become negative and dysfunctional spaces that affect adolescents’ development.

Keywords: Adolescence; romantic relationships; gender; machismo-marianismo; Ecuador; Latin America.


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Jerves, E. M., Cevallos-Neira, A., De Haene, L., Rober, P., & Enzlin, P. (2022). Traditional gender roles translating into behaviors within adolescents’ romantic relationships. Revista Latinoamericana De Ciencias Sociales, Niñez Y Juventud, 20(3), 1–26.
Segunda Parte Volumen 20 No. 3
Biografía del autor/a

Elena M. Jerves, Ph. D., University of Cuenca, Ecuador

Educational Psychologist. Magister in Educational Management. PhD in Bio-medical Sciences by the KU Leuven (Belgium). Full Professor at the University of Cuenca, Cuenca, Ecuador. Orcid: 0000-0002-1254-0958. H5: 9. Correo electrónico:

Ana Cevallos-Neira, Mg., University of Cuenca, Ecuador

Educational Psychologist. Magister in Sex Education at the University of Cuenca. Orcid: 0000-0002-3599-6659. H5: 2. Correo electrónico:

Lucia De Haene, Psychology and Educational Sciences, Belgium

Associate Professor at the Faculty of Psychology & Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium, research unit Education, Culture & Society. Orcid: 0000-0002-3806-1015. H5: 5. Correo electrónico:

Peter Rober, Ph. D., Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies, Belgium

Clinical psychologist, family therapist and family therapy trainer at Context - Center for Marital and Family Therapy, UPC KU Leuven, Belgium. PhD in Psychology from UGhent. He is full professor in family therapy at the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies (Department of Neurosciences, KU Leuven, Belgium). Orcid: 0000-0001-5960-6259. H5: 5. Correo electrónico:

Paul Enzlin, Ph. D., Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies, Belgium

Sexologist, marital and family therapist and clinical sexologist at CeKSS – Center for Sexology and Sex Therapy, UPCK KU Leuven. PhD in social health sciences from KU Leuven. Orcid: 0000-0002-6641-5159. H5: 33. Correo electrónico:


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