Staying single as a teenager would make you more sociable and less depressive

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January 4, 2021

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– Daniel M Ernst /

Currently, it is difficult to keep teens away from romantic relationships. Between curiosity, love at first sight and transition to adolescence, personal relationships, both from a friendly and sentimental point of view or even in the family circle, are important and help the adolescent to build himself, to forge his personality, to grow and assert oneself.

The romantic relationship, an obligatory passage in adolescence?

But what about teenagers who haven’t yet entered personal relationships at this time? Are they lagging behind in their development compared to others? A study says it doesn’t.

Brooke Douglas, a doctoral candidate in health promotion at UGA’s College of Public Health and lead author of the study, said that “the majority of adolescents have had a romantic experience between the ages of 15 and 17 or in their mid-teens. . This high frequency has led some researchers to consider the romantic experience during adolescence to be normative behavior. In other words, that adolescents having a romantic relationship are ‘on time’ in their psychological development ”, reports Science Daily.

However, the researcher asked herself the following question: are adolescents who are not in a relationship behind in their social development? She affirms that “few studies have examined the characteristics of young people who do not go out as a couple during adolescence”. Supported by her team, she decided to dig into the question.

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Teenagers who have never had a romantic experience do better

A study, published in the Journal of School Health in September 2019 and conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia, found that teens who have yet to have a romantic relationship between college and high school do better in certain areas than those who have previously dated someone .

To come to this conclusion, Pamela Orpinas, study co-author and health and behavior promotion teacher, compared the emotional and social skills of second and first graders who said they never had a romantic relationship. and their peers who already had experience in this area. To do this, the researchers analyzed data collected in a 2013 study by Orpinas among teens in sixth grade to first year grade in northeast Georgia.

Each spring, the students recounted their social life, with friends, in the family circle and with their classmates as well as the nature of their thoughts which showed signs of depression or even self-harming thoughts. Their teachers then filled out questionnaires assessing each student’s social skills, leadership skills and depression level.

They are less depressed and have better skills

As a result, single teens exhibited better social skills and a better sense of leadership. They were also less prone to depression than adolescents with romantic experiences.

Douglas declares that “the study refutes the notion of non-dating as social misfits”, it also calls for health promotion interventions in schools and elsewhere “to include celibacy as an option for one. normal and healthy development ”.

She concludes by adding that “as public health professionals we can best state that adolescents have the individual freedom to choose whether or not they wish to have romantic experiences and that both of these options are acceptable and healthy.”

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