Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Affairs of the heart matter to boys, too, sociologists find

11.05.2006


Teenage boys have feelings, too, and when it comes to matters of the heart, they may not be so fleeting after all. Not far beneath the bravado often on display is an unsure adolescent who finds it hard to express emotions that, while new, are nonetheless often sincerely felt.



Boys are more vulnerable and emotionally engaged in romantic relationships than previously thought, according to the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study led by Drs. Peggy Giordano, Monica Longmore and Wendy Manning of Bowling Green State University (BGSU).

Also contrary to traditional belief, girls in the study, on average, scored higher than their male romantic partners in terms of decision-making power.


The sociologists’ findings appear in the April issue of American Sociological Review, the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association.

"These early relationships matter for boys, as well as for girls, and even though they may not last forever, the young people are taking important lessons from them about how to conduct social relationships, and about themselves and their emerging identities," said Giordano, a Distinguished Research Professor of sociology at BGSU.

"They (teen romantic relationships) really have important socializing influences," added Longmore, a professor of sociology.

Early dating experiences have been a relatively neglected subject of study, according to the BGSU researchers. That’s due to assumptions that such relationships are short-lived and shallow, and therefore not very influential, Giordano explained. The focus has been almost exclusively on sexual behavior rather than on the relationship itself, she said.

More is known about adolescent influences from parents and peers, with whom romantic partners are often lumped, Longmore noted.

But the study, supported by funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, has sought to change that. Considering that about 80 percent of teenagers have had a romantic relationship by age 18, what it means to them should be of interest, Giordano said.

For the study, 1,316 junior high and high school students from seven Lucas County, Ohio, school districts were interviewed, primarily in their homes. The students recorded their responses on laptop computers. In-depth "relationship history" narratives were also elicited from 100 of the teens (51 girls and 49 boys).

Giordano said that in general, the boys revealed a self-portrait far removed from the confident, dominant image seen in the existing research literature. They reported significantly lower levels of confidence, as well as greater "communication awkwardness," in their romantic relationships.

Girls may be better prepared for those relationships because of more experience with intimate communication with friends. However, boys as well as girls reported feelings of heightened emotions toward their current or most recent romantic partner--contrary to the notion that boys are only looking to "score" and are not emotionally invested in the relationship.

Boys in the Toledo sample also perceived being influenced more by girls than vice versa and, while most participants from both sexes indicated they shared equal decision-making power in their relationships, the tilt was toward the girls when power was thought to be unequal. These findings go against not only prior research but also against the common belief that men routinely exert more power and influence than women, the BGSU sociologists pointed out.

"If, in marriages, men are more powerful, there must be some point where there’s a switch," said Manning, a professor of sociology and director of the University’s Center for Family and Demographic Research, with which Giordano and Longmore are also affiliated.

It is interesting to consider how aspects of adolescent relationships might influence boys’ and girls’ relationships as adults, Manning said. Intriguing new research possibilities present themselves as adolescents enter the workforce and get married, Giordano added, calling her colleagues’ and her data "a rich reservoir of information about their early histories."

"What we’re trying to argue in our research is that romantic relationships do play a role in development," she said. "While parents and friends continue to be critically important, the romantic partner also matters in multiple respects," she noted, saying the relationship "can be a life-affirming, identity-enhancing element of one’s development."

Johanna Olexy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asanet.org

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Scientists from the MSU studied new liquid-crystalline photochrom

21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>