Rating and Dating Revisited: How Social and Formal Organizational Attributes Shape the Formation of Adolescent Romantic Relationships

Kelly Raley, University of Texas at Austin
Ken Frank, Michigan State University

Understanding patterns of mate selection can provide insight in the social forces contributing to delayed marriage. Using data from the Add Health, we examine mate selection patterns in high school. The Add Health design dictated the collection of longitudinal data from all students in 16 schools, two of which had large enrollments. We employ network modeling approaches to explore the influence of social, family background, and academic characteristics on mate choice. Data from the transcript supplement allow us to examine the degree to which course-taking patterns shape patterns of mate selection by providing opportunities to meet. Preliminary analysis suggests that course taking patterns are important factors shaping mate selections. However, family background characteristics continue to exert an independent influence once we control for this organizational influence.

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Presented in Session 8: Union Formation