A new study has recently refuted the notion that non‐daters are maladjusted. It suggests that the students who were not in a romantic relationship had good social skills and low depression, and fared better or equal to peers who dated.
The past study recognized 4 distinct dating trajectories from sixth to twelfth grade: Low, Increasing, High Middle School, and Frequent. Through this new study, scientists wanted to determine if 10th graders in the Low dating group differed on emotional, interpersonal, and adaptive skills from youth in the other trajectories.
The investigation included 594 tenth graders. Scientists then compared the 4 dating groups utilizing teacher ratings (social skills, leadership, depression) and student self‐reports (positive relationships with friends, at home, and at school, depression and suicidal ideation).
The results show that Low dating group had significantly higher teacher ratings of social skills and leadership, and lower ratings of depression compared to the other groups.
Lead author Brooke Douglas, of the University of Georgia, said, “In the end, school health educators, mental health professionals, and teachers should affirm social norms that support adolescents’ individual freedom to decide whether to date or not, indicating that both are acceptable and healthy options.”
The results of this study are published in the Journal of School Health.