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- Students who date in middle school have significantly worse study skills, are four times more likely to drop out of school and report twice as much alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use than their single classmates, according to new research from the University of Georgia."Romantic relationships are a hallmark of adolescence, but very few studies have examined how adolescents differ in the development of these relationships," said Pamela Orpinas, study author and professor in the College of Public Health and head of the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior.Arrest: Married school teacher Mary Faith Mc Cormick, pictured left in her mug shot and right, stands accused of having sex with a 13-year-old student.She also allegedly sent him explicit text messages and photos Police launched their investigation after a 12-year-old girl friend of the boy borrowed his cell phone and discovered one of the messages which showed the teacher in nothing but a towel, according to KFSM 5 News."In our study, we found four distinct trajectories," Orpinas said."Some students never or hardly ever reported dating from middle to high school, and these students had consistently the best study skills according to their teachers.
The results of the study were recently published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence."Teenagers often wonder two things: how to date and what a healthy relationship is," says Jennifer Connolly, Ph D, Director of the La Marsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution at York University."Parents should take an active role in teaching and helping their kids understand what normal dating behaviours are." By understanding what "healthy" dating is at this age, parents can set limits and protect their child.Their teachers completed questionnaires about the students' academic efforts.The Healthy Teens Longitudinal Study included schools from six school districts in northeast Georgia.