Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Eileen Wood

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study was an initial attempt to understand the impact of parents, peers, the media, and sex education curricula on shaping adolescents’ knowledge and attitudes about dating relationships and sexuality. In addition, participants’ descriptions of what constitutes a “good” date and a “bad” date were investigated. One hundred participants (48 females, 52 males) aged thirteen to sixteen participated; half of the sample were early adolescents (13-14 years) and the other half were middle adolescents (15-16 years). All participants were asked to describe experienced or hypothetical “good” and “bad” dates. For “good” dates, respondents identified engaging in fun, recreational activities, whereas “bad” dates were defined by the absence of such activities. In addition, gender differences were found with regard to the importance and validity that participants placed on parents, peers, media, and sex education as sources of dating information. With respect to the amount of information provided by each source, females received more information than males from music videos. Females also rated parents and television more accurate sources of dating information than did males. With respect to the influence of each source on participants’ choice of dating partner, females rated parents, peers, and television as greater sources of influence on their choice of dating partner than did males. Lastly, females perceived more pressure to date from peers and television than males, and believed that they shared more similar attitudes and values about dating with their peers than males. An examination of the relative impact of each of the external sources revealed that males believed that dating partners were a source of information that was easy to access, comfortable, and provided the most accurate information about dating and sexuality issues. In conclusion, females credited external sources of information (e.g. parents, peers, and television) as sources of dating information whereas males credited dating partners (a non-threatening source) as sources of dating information.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season