ALL NEWS

High schoolers who don’t date are less depressed than their counterparts who do, study says

Sep 11, 2019, 5:56 AM
Stock Image...
Stock Image

(CNN) — Dating is a normal part of adolescence — and a formative one at that. Decades of research have suggested a link between romantic relationships and identity development as teenagers mature into young adults.

But a recent study published in the Journal of School Health reveals that adolescents who choose not to date fare as well as, or better than, their coupled counterparts in social and leadership skills.

They’re also less depressed.

“We know that romantic relationships are very common among adolescents — in fact, a majority have been involved in some type of romantic activity by 15 to 17 years of age,” says Brooke Douglas, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia who conducted the study with Dr. Pamela Orpinas.

“It’s also known that romantic relationships are important for teenagers’ individual development and wellbeing. So that made us ask: What does this say about teenagers who are not dating? Are they social misfits?”

It turns out, they’re not

Through a combination of self-reported student surveys and teacher feedback, data was gathered on the dating habits of sixth through 12th-graders, along with key emotional and behavioral information.

The data was originally published in a 2013 study conducted by Orpinsas, which revealed a number of dating patterns among the students — some dated more frequently with age, others took breaks from relationships at various times.

But Douglas was most interested in the “low” dating group comprised of students who dated, on average, once throughout middle and high school, with some reporting no romantic relationships at all.

To follow the 2013 study, Douglas and Orpinas compared the social and emotional data of 10th graders and found that a lack of romantic relationships had not hindered the development of the “low” daters.

On the contrary, based on the teacher feedback, the students in this group were overall rated higher in social and leadership skills, and lower in depression than those in other dating groups.

One thing to note

As Douglas points out, the teacher surveys were a crucial aspect of the study, as self-reported surveys can lead to a response bias from participants. Especially when probing sensitive issues — like depression and suicide — that students might not feel comfortable reporting, “teachers are the best people to give information.”

Other limitations of the study include that all the participants were from a single region in Georgia and had limited racial diversity. While almost half of the students were white, just over 1% were Asian.

Nonetheless, the results stand counter to the notion that to be a well-adjusted and socially competent adolescent, you must experience a romantic relationship. Students who don’t date are doing just fine. “They don’t lack general social competence, they have friends, just like teenagers who are dating,” says Douglass.

She emphasizes, however, that the study should not be interpreted as a suggestion that teens should not date. Remaining single is simply one choice that adolescents can make — and it doesn’t make them abnormal or socially stunted.

“In school-based programs we focus a lot on healthy relationship skills, which are important, but also assume that teenagers are dating,” she said. “This study affirms that it’s ok if you decide to date or decide not to date. Both are acceptable and healthy.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

CDC reports monkeypox cases....
Waverly Golden

CDC confirms five monkeypox cases in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed a total of five monkeypox cases in Utah, earlier this morning. According to the Utah Department of Health, four of the cases are located in Salt Lake County and one in Utah County. On Tuesday, the total number of cases statewide […]
23 hours ago
Downtown salt lake is pictured. Utah quality of life is declining according to new report....
Amie Schaeffer

New report shows quality of life for Utahns in decline

A report documenting the quality of life in Utah indicates that it might be in decline. Among the findings include a call for more affordable housing.
23 hours ago
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stands with Lieutenant governor Antonio Delgado during their primary ele...
STEVE PEOPLES AP National Politics Writer

Takeaways from first primaries since Roe v. Wade overturned

The abortion debate consumed the nation this week, but there was no race where it mattered more than Colorado's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, where businessman Joe O'Dea became one of the only abortion-rights-supporting Republicans in the nation to win a statewide primary this year.
23 hours ago
A ballot drop box is pictured. Those wanting to vote in the utah primary election can still vote in...
Amie Schaeffer

Utah primary election: Acceptable ID to bring for in-person voting

Utah's Primary Election is today. Voters need to be sure they have the right identification to cast their ballot.
2 days ago
bountiful porch thefts...
Dan Bammes

Bountiful woman arrested after allegedly stealing $6,000 from patient

Miller, who worked with the victim as a recreational therapist when the theft occurred.
2 days ago
A technician works on a component of Rocket Lab's Electron rocket ahead of the launch on the Mahia ...
NICK PERRY Associated Press

NASA hopes New Zealand launch will pave way for moon landing

The mission came together relatively quickly and cheaply for NASA, with the total mission cost put at $32.7 million.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
High schoolers who don’t date are less depressed than their counterparts who do, study says