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Social knowledge : applying a conceptual model of adult romantic relationships to dating in adolescence Siguenza, Rene M.

Abstract

This study assesses whether an adult model of romantic sexual relationships is applicable to adolescence. The study of social knowledge in adulthood has revealed that the ways in which individuals know someone prior to dating them can have an effect on the subsequent dating and sexual relationship. Tests of the association between social knowledge and patterns of sexual behaviours in adolescence were conducted using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Findings indicate that adolescent dating and sexual behaviour patterns vary according to age and sex of the respondent. Results suggest that older female adolescents, in contrast to younger female and male adolescents, engage in patterns of dating and sexual behaviours that resemble adult romantic relationships. Romantic relationships among male adolescents are less influenced by social knowledge of a dating partner. Implications of the study and the need for more research on dating and sexual behaviour during the transitional period from adolescence to adulthood are discussed along with directions for future research.

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