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Patterns of Adolescents’ Romantic Activities: Associations with Psychosocial Adjustment

Abstract

Using data on 15 year-old adolescents’ (N = 770) romantic socializing, dating, and romantic relationships, we identified four clusters of romantic involvement: abstaining (9.2% of adolescents), socializing with relationships (20.3% of adolescents), socializing with dating (20.8% of adolescents), and socializing (49.7% of adolescents). We then tested if depressive symptoms, externalizing behavior, or social dissatisfaction differed between adolescents in the different romantic involvement clusters. Externalizing behavior and social dissatisfaction, but not depressive symptoms, differed between the clusters. Adolescents in the abstaining or socializing clusters reported less externalizing behavior than those in the other two clusters. Adolescents in the abstaining cluster reported greater social dissatisfaction than those in the other three clusters, which did not differ from each other. Finally, we found that gender did not moderate the associations between youths’ pattern of romantic involvement and their psychosocial adjustment.

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Acknowledgements

This study uses data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD). The SECCYD was conducted by the NICHD Early Child Care Research Network supported by NICHD through a cooperative agreement that calls for scientific collaboration between the grantees and the NICHD staff.

Author Contributions

JJB developed the hypotheses, conducted the data analysis, wrote the methods and results, collaborated on the introduction and discussion, and compiled the final manuscript for submission. MM collaborated on the introduction and discussion and edited the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jonathon Beckmeyer.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was a secondary analysis of de-identified data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development through a data use agreement with the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. This study and the data use agreement were approved by the Indiana University IRB. All research was conducted in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Beckmeyer, J., Malacane, M. Patterns of Adolescents’ Romantic Activities: Associations with Psychosocial Adjustment. J Child Fam Stud 27, 2394–2403 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1108-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1108-2

Keywords

  • Romantic development
  • Dating
  • Romantic relationships
  • Cluster analysis
  • Psychosocial adjustment