Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Dating in Adolescence
Lauree C. Tilton-Weaver
Although the term dating conjures up images of young men and women pairing off and engaging in social activities together, arriving at an acceptable empirical definition is more difficult, due largely to sociohistorical changes. Prior to the 1970s, dating referred to heterosocial interactions that were somewhat formal in function and structure. That is, dating served the primary purpose of selecting an individual of the opposite sex with whom a long-term, romantic relationship might develop, culminating in mate selection (marriage and children). Moreover, relatively strict scripts for dating provided a well-defined, albeit gender-differentiated structure (e.g., boy asks girl to go with him to an event, with a prearranged time or function). Today, dating refers to multifunctional and more loosely structured social activities between two individuals of the same or opposite sex who are potential partners, but may or may not be interested in developing a long-term relationship. In addition, recognition of ...