Culture Post: Social Misfit or Normal Development? Students Who Do Not Date

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by the Journal of School Health.

Prior research identified 4 distinct dating trajectories from 6th to 12th grade: Low, Increasing, High Middle, and Frequent. The purpose of this study was to examine whether 10th graders in the Low dating group differed on emotional, interpersonal, and adaptive skills from youth in the other trajectories.


The sample consisted of 594 10th graders. Four dating groups were compared using teacher ratings (social skills, leadership, depression) and student self-reports (positive relationships with friends, at home, and at school; depression, suicidal ideation).


Students in the Low dating group had significantly higher teacher ratings of social skills and leadership and lower ratings of depression compared to the other groups. Self-reports of positive relationships did not differ by dating groups. Self-reported depression was significantly lower in the Low dating group, but suicidal ideations did not differ.


Adolescents who were not in a romantic relationship had good social skills and low depression and fared better or equal to peers who dated. These results refute the notion that non-daters are maladjusted. Health promotion interventions in schools should include non-dating as one option for healthy development.

Source: Journal of School Health


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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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