Peer groups were identified using a peer-nomination technique and aggressive behaviors and attitudes were averaged across peer groups.
Although many negative effects of dating during the pre-teen and early adolescent years are noted -- poor academic performance, low educational aspirations, delinquency, enduring poor social skills, sexual activity, depression and drug use, having a boyfriend or girlfriend during the high school years seems to have a more positive effect.
Fogarty further reports that teen girls who have strong relationships with their mothers and who are not involved in steady dating have higher academic achievement than girls in romantic relationships.
Parents can help their teenagers avoid negative dating experiences by keeping communication open in a warm and supportive relationship.
The emergence of romantic relationships is an important marker of normative development during adolescence.
Experiences in romantic relationships provide opportunities for positive growth and preparation for the mature relationships of adulthood.