Date of Award

Winter 2014

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Cesar J Rebellon

Second Advisor

Karen T Van Gundy

Third Advisor

Michele Dillon


Research suggests a relationship exists between dating and delinquency among adolescents. The goal of this thesis was to further consider the relationship between adolescent dating and delinquency, and test the possibility that self-control could serve as a confounding variable. Using OLS regression and two waves of New Hampshire Youth Study data, a longitudinal dataset composed of two cohorts of adolescents, I tested the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationship between adolescent dating and delinquency. Cross-sectionally, findings suggest dating and delinquency are significantly related, even upon adjusting for self-control and demographic controls. Longitudinally, levels of dating appear positively associated with changes in delinquency even after adjusting for self-control. Conversely, changes in the level of delinquency do not predict changes in dating. Disaggregating findings by age and gender indicates some variation in the above relationships with the most notable being that dating is a stronger predictor of delinquency among younger, rather than older, adolescents.