Interrelationships were studied between dating patterns (i.e., steady relationship, casual dating with multiple partners, single casual partner, or no dating) and trajectories of psychosocial functioning over a l-year interval in a sample of 701 middle adolescents. Increasing involvement in casual dating was associated with rising trajectories of problem behaviors and improvements in the quality of close friendships. Pathways culminating in steady relationships were accompanied by increasing friendship discord and declining problem behaviors and emotional distress. Differences in psychosocial functioning also were evident prior to diverging transitions in dating patterns. Results are discussed within an ecological framework that conceptualizes dating as a key component of renegotiating ties with the peer subculture and societal norms.
Davies, Patrick T. and Windle, Michael
"Middle Adolescents' Dating Pathways
and Psychosocial Adjustment,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 46
, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol46/iss1/6