If you date in middle school, then you probably have weak study skills, and you’re more likely to drink, smoke, and use marijuana than the kid who doesn’t date. You’re also more likely to drop out of high school. That’s the not-too-astonishing new report on a seven year study conducted by a team from the University of Georgia headed up by public health professor Pamela Orpinas.
It it just me, or are most of us way ahead of the science here?
Orpinas noted that their research turned up four groups of middle school students. “Some students never or hardly ever reported dating from middle to high school, and these students had consistently the best study skills according to their teachers,” she said. With all due respect to the good professor, in my day we called those students “nerds.”
But now we have a scientific study, recently published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence to tell us that middle schoolers who date are cooler and more adventurous in pretty much every way than the teacher’s pets. Sure, their study skills are weaker. That’s because they’re the party animals.
All kidding aside, middle school dating seemed to be clearly linked to risky behaviors. And it isn’t a small issue, since 38% of the students started dating in middle school, with 22% of them starting as early as sixth grade. Children in both groups were twice as likely to drink and use drugs as their classmates who didn’t date.
Orpinas studied 624 kids over the years as they moved from sixth to 12th grade. Each year, the subjects filled out a questionaire about their behavior. Their teachers were also asked to rank them according to their study skills and to report if they dropped out.
But if that isn’t enough evidence to convince you that dating in middle school is just a bad idea, check out this video from You Tuber Binton7:
That, my friends, is often the all-too-ugly truth about middle school dating.
[U.S. Navy photo of students by Greg Vojtko]