A publication of the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence PDF by Sarah Sorenson Young people spend a great deal of time thinking about, talking about, and being in romantic relationships (Furman, 2002), yet adults typically dismiss adolescent dating relationships as superficial.Young people do not agree: half of all teens report having been in a dating relationship and nearly one-third of all teens said they have been in a serious relationship (Teenage Research Unlimited, 2006).Relationships can support sexual development, an important part of growing to adulthood.Most adolescents believe that sex should occur within the context of a romantic relationship, and while not all relationships are sexual, most sexually active youth are monogamous.This relationship is not surprising considering adolescents describe dating and spending time with romantic partners as a central focus in their lives.
While these lessons can often provide a valuable foundation for long-term relationships in adulthood, they are also important contributors to growth, resilience, and happiness in the teen years.
Part 1 of this series describes dating patterns and the development of romantic interest from early to late adolescence.
In the early part of adolescence, youth begin to develop romantic interest in their peers.
Those students who reported having a boyfriend/girlfriend reported significantly more drug use and delinquent activity and were more likely to be male.
Twenty-nine percent of youth with a boyfriend/girlfriend reported perpetrating physical aggression against their boyfriend/girlfriend.