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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>