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 Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>