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By WINIFRED GALLAGHER NOV. When they fell in love, she was barely into her teens, and he wasn't much older. Some effects of dating at a young age a star-crossed couple effexts found understanding, joy and maturity in each other's arms. Others saw impulsive kids whose reckless passion cut them off from family, friends and more appropriate interests, provoked mood swings, delinquent behavior and experimentation with drugs, and ended in tragedy.
Romeo and Juliet's story is centuries old, but these two very different views of adolescent romance live on, often simultaneously, in the minds of bemused parents. Lately, teenage romance has caught the attention of a number of researchers, who are increasingly interested in its potentially positive as well as negative effects -- not just on adolescence, but on adult relationships and well-being. Wyndol Furman, an editor of the book ''The Development of Romantic Relationships in Adolescence,'' understanding teenage dating means understanding that adolescence is ''a roiling emotional caldron whose major fuel -- more than parents, peers or school and almost as much as those things combined -- is the opposite sex.
Furman, a professor of psychology at the University effecys Denver, said adolescents' lack of social skills and emotional control effectz make relationships difficult. Optically stimulated luminescence dating of fluvial deposits, he said, romantic relationships can also be significant sources of support that offer teenagers eeffects and companionship, help them forge mature identities and offer them practice in managing emotions.
Setting guidelines requires an appreciation of the profound differences between and year-olds. Among the so-called ''tweens'' of middle school, Dr. Furman said, the point of a crush ''is mostly to be able to say you have a boy- or girlfriend,'' and to start to know the opposite sex. Next, he said, boys and girls date in groups -- ''you kiss, then go to the movies'' -- and become more interested in the close companionship sought by older teenagers. Teenagers' growing capacity define wingman dating positive romantic relationships has been traced by Dr.
Reed Larson, a professor of human and community development at the University of Illinois. After paging his teenage subjects at random times during the day and inquiring about their activities and emotions, Dr. Larson confirmed what parents since Adam and Eve have observed: Larson correlated their more numerous negative responses to what he called ''a certain randomness'' and superficiality in their attachments, which make their relationships less rewarding.
Indeed, he said, this dissatisfaction is most pronounced among among the younger, less experienced teenagers, who ''haven't yet learned how to have fun and get along. He observed, ''It takes time for a teenager to realize that a relationship isn't just an infatuation based on haphazard attraction, but an entity on which two people with optically stimulated luminescence dating of fluvial deposits personalities work together.
Earlier studies of youthful romance tended to focus on its risks and those who were most vulnerable. A survey conducted by Dr. Jay Silverman, director of violence prevention programs at the Harvard Kf of Public Health, published in August in The Journal of the American Medical Association, reported that about one in five high school girls had been physically or sexually harmed by a dating partner -- about the same rate at which adult women report being abused by partners.
Silverman found that compared with girls who had not been abused, the victims were four to six dwting as likely to have been pregnant, eight to nine times as likely to have attempted suicide, three to four times as likely to have used laxatives or vomiting to lose weight, and to five times as likely to have used cocaine. Silverman said that partner abuse among teenagers was ''typically ignored'' -- even in youth programs that focused on some of the very problems, like unwed pregnancy and addiction, that were linked to such violence.
Optically stimulated luminescence dating of fluvial deposits violence occurs across socioeconomic boundaries, he said, and ''like wealthier abused women, datibg from 'nice' families may have to surmount more psychological barriers to report partner violence. Silverman advised, ''Parents should be more tuned in to their teenagers' dating and should keep educating themselves and their children about healthy relationships. Violence is not the only risk in optically stimulated luminescence dating of fluvial deposits relationships.
Qge December, The Journal of Health and Social Behavior published a study called ''You Don't Bring Me Anything but Down,'' which reported that compared with unattached peers, involved adolescents were somewhat more vulnerable to depression, delinquency, alcohol abuse and problems with school and optically stimulated luminescence dating of fluvial deposits. The most likely off all teenagers to become depressed are romantically involved girls ages 12 to 14, said Dr.
Kara Joyner, a sociologist at Cornell University, who conducted the study with Dr. Richard Udry, director of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, based at the University of North Carolina. But it remains unclear whether being in a relationship invites depression, or whether melancholic youngsters are more likely to pair up than carefree peers. Joyner says ''the causal arrow can go both ways.
The confusion over whether romance creates troubled teenagers, or troubled teenagers are disproportionately interested in romance, helps account for the widespread ambivalence about adolescents' dating and relationships, said Dr. Miriam Ehrensaft, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. After studying the association between teenagers' romances and mental health, she concluded that such relationships reflected teenagers' previous emotional attachments with family and peers and helped to predict the quality of effects of dating at a young age relationships and to show patterns that are repeated from one generation to the next.
View all Luminescence dating wiki York Times newsletters. Ehrensaft said, ''we need to sort out the kids who have pre-existing problems. Offering a dark illustration, Dr. Ehrensaft described the hypothetical case of a troubled girl, whose delinquent behavior reflected a lack of social supports that also put her at high risk for early pregnancy.