The Downside of the Dating Scene: Gender Differences in the Effect of Romantic Climate on Academic Outcomes

Sarah R. Crissey, University of Texas at Austin

The high school comprises both the academic and social worlds of adolescents, which may compete for the adolescent’s attention. This study explores how the focus on romantic activity in a high school influences individual academic performance and aspirations. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and the linked Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement (AHAA) transcript study, preliminary results suggest that the romantic climate does influence academics, but in different ways for boys and girls. Girls in schools where romance is valued have lower grades than girls in schools where it is less desirable, regardless of whether they actually form a romantic relationship. Girls who do form relationships experience a decline in their grades, and this effect is magnified in schools where romance is desirable. Boys in schools with a strong romantic orientation actually have better grades, however individual romantic activity has little influence on academic outcomes.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Children and Youth, Adolescence, Parenting, Transition to Adulthood, Life Course