Students Who Date in Middle School 4x as Likely to Drop Out

C. Price
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How early students begin to date may determine their success in school.

A new study coming out of the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health found students who date in middle school are four times as likely to drop out and report twice as much alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use.

Researchers recruited 624 students and tracked their personal lives and academic progress from sixth to 12th grade.

Students who dated consistently since sixth grade made up 38 percent of the student’s tracked, and students who dated consistently starting in high school made up 22 percent of the study’s participants.


“Students who date in middle school

are four times as likely to drop out.”

Combined with evaluations provided by each student’s teacher, the study painted a picture of who was succeeding at school and who was failing while detailing potential trends within both groups.

Researchers discovered students who never dated and students who rarely dated academically outperformed students who began dating (even a little bit) in middle school and continued to date regularly through high school.

Study author Pamela Orpinas offered two potential reasons for this correlation.

“A likely explanation for the worse educational performance of early daters is that these adolescents start dating early as part of an overall pattern of high-risk behaviors,” she said. “When the couple splits, they have to continue to see each other in class and perhaps witness the ex-partner dating someone else. It is reasonable to think this scenario could be linked to depression and divert attention from studying.”

Source: PsychCentral.com. Photo source: sodahead.com.