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What Are the Effects of High School Students Having a Boyfriend or Girlfriend?

by Simon Fuller

For many high school students, having a partner is near the top of their priority list and some individuals may feel left out or inadequate if they aren't in a serious relationship by the end of high school. In the short term, having a boyfriend or girlfriend can lead to happiness and a sense of belonging, but such a relationship can also lead to other, less positive consequences.

Disruption of Friendship Groups

High school students typically maintain a circle of close friends, but the politics of relationships can alter these friendships. For example, when a student enters a romantic relationship, that person’s friends may complain about the decrease in quality "friend" time. Worse, friends may become jealous, which can lead to arguments or the breaking of friendships.

Increased Stress Level

With typical hormonal mood swings and emotional difficulties, pressure to succeed academically, a full roster of music, sports or other extra-curricular activities and college looming on the horizon, high school students lead busy, complicated lives. A relationship introduces another source of stress, taking up more time and potentially adding to emotional upset if the relationship goes awry. According to Focus Adolescent Services, dating and relationship problems or break-ups are common sources of stress for teens and may lead to anxiety, depression, withdrawal and physical illness.

Improved Support Systems

The presence of a boyfriend or girlfriend in a high school student's life can have a positive effect, providing the relationship is stable. The individuals in a relationship can become very close, which in turn allows each partner to support the other during difficult times. For instance, studying together for exams or venting about difficulties at school or home may be beneficial for both students.

Transition to College

According to research by Chung Pham, Tracy Keenan and Bing Han, published in the Journal of Applied Economics and Business Research, students who enter into a serious relationship in high school are less likely to graduate high school and move on to college, while non-daters and moderate daters are more likely to advance to college. For students in a serious relationship, college may mean a painful breakup if one or both individuals decide not to continue the relationship. If students do continue their relationship, this can have negative consequences on their college careers; for example, a student may neglect homework or fail to make new friends and successfully transition to a new environment.

About the Author

Simon Fuller has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work has appeared in "Record Collector," "OPEN" and the online publication, brand-e. Fuller has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Reading and a postgraduate diploma from the London School of Journalism.

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