Abstract

It was examined whether early adolescents' involvement in a romantic relationship would be differentially related to adjustment, depending on their relations with the same-sex peer group. Three hundred and twelve 7th graders were assessed with respect to their social acceptance by same-sex peers, involvement in reciprocal same-sex friendships, involvement in romantic relationships, self-esteem, antisocial behavior, and academic performance. Social acceptance by other-sex peers and involvement in reciprocal other-sex friendships were also assessed for control purposes. The results showed that having a boyfriend/ girlfriend was related to poorer emotional and behavioral adjustment for those early adolescents who were unpopular among same-sex peers. For adolescents who were popular among same-sex peers, romantic involvement was not related to emotional and behavioral adjustment. Independently of same-sex peer acceptance, however, romantic involvement was negatively related to academic performance, albeit only for girls. The results are discussed in light of Sullivan's theory of social development.

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