In contrast to every movie or television show you’ve ever seen about teenagers in high school, a new study has found that teens who don’t date are happier, less depressed, and more adept at dealing with a variety of social situations.
It’s generally believed that dating is a healthy, if not obligatory, part of being a teenager. While there are some benefits of forming romantic connections in the high school years, the collateral damage of heartache and heartbreak can be devastating. Researchers from the University of Georgia say that not dating can be more beneficial for teens.
The research team discovered that teens who had not dated during middle or high school displayed good social skills, low levels of depression, and generally fared equal to or better than their classmates who were dating.
The study’s authors discovered that non-dating students had either similar, or better, interpersonal skills than their dating classmates. Furthermore, while self-reported positive relationship scores did not differ between either groups, teachers rated the non-dating students significantly higher than their romance-seeking classmates in terms of social and leadership skills.
Regarding depression, teachers also rated non-dating students as less depressed. Additionally, far fewer abstinent students reported feeling depressed or hopeless regularly than students who were known to date.
One parent of a study participant disagreed with the conclusions, “I want my child to get to experience all of the drama, isolation, and other trauma. I’m about halfway through my third marriage; learning how to breakup is good practice. Let’s face it, we live in a Kardashian world. I want my baby to fit in and thrive.”