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The purpose of this ethnonursing investigation, which was part of a larger study, was to describe and explain the meanings and experiences of adolescents in relation to their care and health within their peer subculture and family contexts Data were collected using observation-participation and interviews with adolescents in southwestern Ontario, Canada Interviews were tape recorded, coded and entered on to a computer The following themes were abstracted from the verbatim descriptors and patterns (a) Care for adolescents meant ‘being there’ for listening in confidence, helping, gift giving, humour and demonstrating love in time of need (b) Health for adolescents meant well-being, absence of illness, being fit, dealing with problems, and taking responsibility (c) The adolescents valued family, friends, education, money, sports, and honesty (d) Clothes, hair and music were metaphors for adolescents' emerging identities