A new study co-authored by a University of Texas at Austin psychologist finds sexually active teenagers in romantic relationships are less likely to exhibit anti-social behavior than their peers who have casual sex.
In other words, teens in committed relationships were less likely to get in trouble than those who "hook up."
In older adolescents, sexual activity that occurred in romantic relationships predicted lower levels of delinquency, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally, whereas sexual activity in non-romantic relationships predicted higher levels of delinquency.
UT-Austin assistant professor of psychology Kathryn Paige Harden, who co-authored the study, says it suggests teens who spend lots of time with their significant other - and less time with friends - have fewer opportunities to get into trouble.
The study was published in the June issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.