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TO DATE OR NOT? UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA STUDY WEIGHS IN ON TEENS

Father, equip us in helping our youth realize their value in You. Keep them focused on You first as they navigate through this world.

ATHENS, Ga. — In contrast to every movie or television show you’ve ever seen about teenagers in high school, a new study has found that teens who don’t date are happier, less depressed, and more adept at dealing with a variety of social situations.

It’s generally believed that dating is a perfectly healthy part of being a teenager. Forming a romantic connection for the first time can help teens’ grow their self-esteem, mature on an emotional level, and develop important social skills for later on in life. While all of that still holds true, researchers from the University of Georgia say that not dating can be just as, if not more, beneficial for teens. The research team discovered that teens who had not dated during middle or high school displayed good social skills, low levels of depression, and generally fared equal to or better than their classmates who were dating.

“The majority of teens have had some type of romantic experience by 15 to 17 years of age, or middle adolescence,” explains doctoral student and the study’s lead author Brooke Douglas in a release. “This high frequency has led some researchers to suggest that dating during teenage years is a normative behavior. That is, adolescents who have a romantic relationship are therefore considered ‘on time’ in their psychological development.”

“Does this mean that teens that don’t date are maladjusted in some way? That they are social misfits? Few studies had examined the characteristics of youth who do not date during the teenage years, and we decided we wanted to learn more,” Douglas continues.

The student-collected data used for the study was gathered from a group of Northeast Georgia students as they progressed from sixth to 12th grade. Data collection began in 2013. Each spring, students were asked about their dating habits, as well a number of other emotional and social factors such as positive relationships with friends, home life, behavior at school, depression symptoms, and suicidal thoughts. Each student’s teachers were also surveyed, and asked about the child’s social skills, leadership characteristics, and depression symptoms.

Surprisingly, the study’s authors discovered that non-dating students had either similar, or better, interpersonal skills than their dating classmates. Furthermore, while self-reported positive relationship scores did not differ between either groups, teachers rated the non-dating students significantly higher than their romance-seeking classmates in terms of social and leadership skills. Regarding depression, teachers also rated non-dating students as less depressed. Additionally, far fewer abstinent students reported feeling depressed or hopeless regularly than students who were known to date.

“In summary, we found that non-dating students are doing well and are simply following a different and healthy developmental trajectory than their dating peers,” says study co-author professor Pamela Orpinas. Douglas and her team believe that schools should do more to remind students that choosing not to date is just as healthy and normal as dating.

(Excerpt from Study Finds. Article by John Anderer.)

What are your thoughts on teen dating?  Are you surprised by the study’s findings? Leave a comment.

 

253 People Prayed
882 People have read this article

3 Replies to “TO DATE OR NOT? UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA STUDY WEIGHS IN ON TEENS”

  1. In Jesus Name, I pray those who are required to publish studies don’t insult the general public with their selection of topics. In my humble opinion, Lord, this study proves nothing. But, Lord in Your amazing mercy You know we often times find it difficult to create a project of substance. Forgive us, Lord. Amen

  2. I wonder who set the standard for young people to pair off on their own and be set up for failure. I pray the church will become more active in setting up safe scenarios for teens and teach them to work, minister and pray together in groups. There’s no better way to get to know each other, and it relieves the pressure of premature intimacy. Breaking up has become just as normal as dating, and that mindset transcends into marriage. We need to give them an alternative to the grocery shopping mentality.

  3. Dating , going steady, or having a relationship with someone is a sample of marriage. That’s why married couples must have a marriage license, contract and a ceremony where vows are spoken before each other, God and witness’s to help the couple hold up their end of the contract. Maybe, too much dating “burns” young people out where they may avoid divorce, by avoiding marriage. The extremely high numbers of divorce’s in the past 60 years may account for the huge numbers (51%+) of adults co-habituating today, rather than marrying. Sad! All sexual activity outside of marriage brings fornication = before marriage, and adultery = after marriage, and these can cause you to spend eternity in hell, (whether you call yourself a Christian, or not.) Sin is sin, and if you repent, God will hear and forgive you, but you must turn from your sin and follow Christ.
    If you only date committed Christians, you stand a better chance of not getting hurt, and turned off to marriage. (Ecc. 4:9-12) speaks of “a “three strand” cord is not easily broken”, which produces a good marriage that is held together by the man, the woman and God / Christ Jesus.
    Maranatha = our LORD comes !

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