Students who date in middle school have significantly worse study skills, are four times more likely to drop out of school and report twice as much alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use than their single classmates, according to new research from the University of Georgia.
“In our study, we found four distinct trajectories,” [study author Pamela] Orpinas said. “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. Other students dated infrequently in middle school but increased the frequency of dating in high school. We also saw a large number of students who reported dating since sixth grade.”
“At all points in time, teachers rated the students who reported the lowest frequency of dating as having the best study skills and the students with the highest dating as having the worst study skills,” according to the journal article.
Children in these early dating groups were also twice as likely to use alcohol and drugs.
On the surface, this makes perfect sense. Most middle-school romances were hand-holding, instant messaging, and talking at the locker. They could be ended based at more or less any time—many times they did after, like, a week. (Girls were ruthless.) In other words, they weren't actually cases of kids dating.
But if you're giving or receiving handies on the school bus at age 13, it's not inconceivable to think that your experimentation will increase as you enter high school. And will continue as more temptations are thrown at you in grades 9-12. Pretty soon that seventh-grade decision to slut it up has left you in a bottomless pit of despair and regret, a school-bus-sized hole in your life that you fill with back-alley prostitution, heroin, and meals of cereal at 6 p.m.
Whoa, sorry. These studies are always so fucking heavy-handed. I got carried away.
Just don't be an idiot when you're older, school-bus-handy people.