Investigating the Impact of Romantic Relationships on Academic Performance of High
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Romantic relationships have become common among adolescents. Like everything else in life, romantic relationships both positively and negatively affect psychological health and students’ academic achievement. However, most studies exploring the impact of academic relationships on students’ academic performance focus on college students, leaving high school students largely ignored. The primary goal of this study is to explore how engaging in romantic relationships impacts high school students’ academic performance. The study will adopt a correlational research design, and data will be collected from a sample of 300 randomly selected high school teachers. Participants will be recruited from public high schools in the US. Data will be collected using survey questionnaires. The questionnaire will be self-constructed to enable the investigator to measure all the study variables. The collected data will be aggregated in MS. Excel and then exported to SPPS version 26.0 for analysis. First, a reliability test will be performed. Pearson’s correlation will then be performed to test whether there is a significant correlation between being in a romantic relationship and the academic performance of high school students. The findings of the study will help determine whether or not romantic relationships among high school students should be encouraged.
Romantic affairs have become part of teenagers’ daily lives, and dating is a common topic of teenage conversations. Supporting this statement, Honghao et al. (2021) reveal that more than half of high school students today are in a romantic relationship. Most romantic relationships among teenagers are superficial and do not require long-term commitment, causing frequent breakups (Clayborne et al., 2019). These breakups cause stress and anxiety among students, which adversely affects their academic outcomes. However, other scholars have shown that romantic relationships have positive effects on adolescents. For instance, Fults (2019) reveals that romantic relationships increase learners’ self-acceptance, self-respect, and a sense of belonging and provide a positive learning climate. To contribute to this area of research, this study aims to explore the association between romantic relationships and the academic performance of high school students. This section covers the problem of the study, the research question and hypothesis, and the definition of operational terms.
Engaging in romantic relationships creates a wide range of problems for teenagers. Honghao et al. (2021) reveal that fantasy and genuine romantic affairs contribute to adolescents’ emotional uncertainty, negatively affecting their interpersonal ability and academic performance. Also, most adolescents’ romantic relationships last for about 6 to 12 months, which makes adolescents experience frequent breakups. These breakups lead to stress and anxiety, thus, adversely affecting their academic outcome. Li et al. (2019) further reveal that balancing academic performance and romantic relationships is a challenge for teenagers.
On a different note, Li et al. (2019) urge that although the relationship between romantic relationships and student academic performance has been the focus of scholars for many years, much of the work focuses on college students. This implies that the existing literature concerning the impact of romantic relationships on high school students is limited in scope, creating the research gap for this study.
Although engaging in a romantic relationship causes various challenges to students, there is an increased number of high school students getting into romantic relationships. Examining how being in a romantic relationship impacts high school students’ academic performance is important because it will unveil the effects that high school students’ engagement in romantic relationships has. This fills a gap in the existing knowledge because although engagement in the romantic relationship among college students has positive and negative effects, it is not known whether this is the same with high school students. Also, the knowledge gained through this study will benefit society by enlightening them on whether or not it is right to support teenagers’ romantic relationships.
Research Questions and Hypothesis
Quantitative Research Question
Is there a significant correlation between romantic relationships and the academic performance of high school students?
H0: There is no significant correlation between being in a romantic relationship and the academic performance of high school students.
H1: There is no significant correlation between being in a romantic relationship and the academic performance of high school students.
Definitions of Operational Terms
This study has one dependent and one independent variable. The dependent variable of the study is academic performance. In the context of this study, academic performance is used to refer to the measurement of a student’s achievement across different academic subjects. On the other hand, the independent variable is romantic relationship. In the context of this study, a romantic relationship is defined as an ongoing, mutual, and voluntary interaction between two partners characterized by intimacy and affection.
Conclusively, this section unveils that most high schoolers are engaging in romantic relationships despite the increased risks of this behavior. The results on the impacts of romantic relations on student academic performance are inconsistent and inconclusive. Also, the scope of the existing literature on the effects of romantic relationships on high school students’ academic performance is limited in scope and warrants further investigations.
The literature review section aims at providing a comprehensive synthesized review of previous journal articles and other scholarly materials related to student involvement in a romantic relationship and its impact on academic performance so as to provide the researcher with a comprehensive understanding of the topic under investigation as well as identify the research gaps in the existing literature. To identify the appropriate literature to review, the researcher searched different reputable databases, including EBSCOHost, Emerald, CINHAL, and Google Scholar. These databases were preferred since they contain peer-reviewed journal articles, thus making the chosen materials credible for use in the study. Books and book chapters were also considered for review. The literature review covers reasons adolescents engage in romantic relationships, the effects of romantic relationships on student academic performance, and an empirical review of previous studies exploring the relationship between romantic relationships and student academic performance. Finally, a research gap is identified.
Why Adolescents Engage in Romantic Relationships
Research reveals that in the contemporary world, more than half of high school students are in a romantic relationship (Honghao & Tianyu, 2021). Adolescents engage in romantic relationships due to various reasons. To begin with, human beings are considered to be “social animals,” and their interaction with other people is fundamental to their well-being (Ben-Ze’ev & Teitelbaum, 2021). The social nature of human beings also makes them want to form intimate relationships where love can be received and given freely; the state psychologists refer to as “the need to belong” (Baumeister & Leary, 2017).
Also, research reveals that engaging in romantic relationships involves physical contact, which leads to the release of chemicals such as endorphins, oxytocin, and vasopressin among the people engaged, and they also gain the love and confidence that they are seeking (Raman, 2010). The author also adds that these chemicals bring about short-term happiness and euphoria, making adolescents want to engage in romantic relationships.
Furthermore, Kapur (2015) argues that individuals during their adolescence stage experience how to be socially independent. During this stage, teenagers tend to be curious about how it feels to have a partner; thus, exploring this curiosity leads them to a romantic relationship while still in high school. However, this form of relationship might not result in a fulfilling and passionate love affair. This is simply the outcome of their curiosity and attempts to discover their place in the world as they try to figure out what life is all about. As adolescents strive to find their place in the broader and social world, the majority of them enter into romantic relationships. Backes and Bonnie (2019) reveal that as teenagers transition from puberty to late adolescence, romantic connections become more and more important to them in their social world.
Effects of Romantic Relationships on Student Academic Performance
Engaging in a romantic relationship has both positive and negative effects on an individual. Fults (2019) urges that quality personal relationships that provide care, stability, and trust, such as romantic relationships, increase learners’ self-acceptance, self-respect, and a sense of belonging and provide a positive learning climate. Additionally, Vygotsky’s theory states that social interaction contributes significantly to an individual’s cognitive development. Based on this idea, psychologists argue that romantic relations, which are sort of social interactions, contribute positively to student academic outcomes, which are facilitated by cognitive development. Teenagers assist in the cognitive development of their partners by studying together. Also, romantic relationships serve motivate learners to study (De Winter et al., 2021). On the same note, Ahamed et al. (2017) revealed that romantic relationships boost student academic performance of students. Supporting their findings, the authors argued that most adolescents are inclined to attend class due to their romantic partners.
On the negative side, romantic relationships result in stress and anxiety, which negatively impact student academic performance. Clayborne et al. (2019) reveal that most adolescents’ romantic relationships last for about 6 to 12 months. As such, adolescents who engage in romantic relationships experience frequent breakups, which leads to stress and anxiety. Consequently, this adversely affects their academic outcome.
Additionally, the time spent with someone’s partner tends to consume time that could have been used to study. Since time management is a significant impact on student academic performance, this results in romantic relationships having a negative impact on the academic outcome of students. Li et al. (2019) reveal that balancing academic performance and romantic relationships is a challenge for teenagers. Also, having a romantic relationship when one is a student is both a source of stress and a disturbance. According to Capariňo (2011), having a romantic affair is disturbing to students since students must manage time between the romantic side and school, which leads to most students giving the academic side a lesser priority.
The existing literature related to the topic under investigation is full of empirical studies exploring the relationship between romantic relationships and student academic performance. Firstly, Schmidt and Lockwood (2017) conducted a study to explore the impact of a romantic affair on university students’ academic performance. A sample of 300 students was recruited to take part in the study. Data were collected using questionnaires, and multivariate analysis was performed. Findings revealed that engaging in a romantic relationship increases the chance of not attending classes, which negatively affects the student’s academic outcome. These findings align with those of Li et al. (2019), who examined the impact of involvement in romantic affairs and dating behaviors on the psychological functioning and academic performance of college students. Li et al. (2019) found that involvement in romantic relationship results in lower academic performance among adolescents.
Karki et al. (2018) also performed an empirical study to examine the impact of relationship status on academic performance among college students. The study involved a sample of 300 participants who were chosen using the purposive sampling technique. Data were collected using survey questionnaires, and descriptive and differential statistics were computed. Findings revealed that being in a romantic affair had a significant positive impact on student motivation to learn and a moderate impact on student anxiety levels.
Overall, the literature reviewed reveals that there is a growing number of high-school students engaging in romantic relations. Further, it was established that being in a romantic relationship can positively and negatively impact student academic performance. However, all the reviewed empirical studies focused on the impact of romantic relationships on college students’ academic performance. This has created a research gap for this study. With the increasing number of high school students engaging in romantic relationships, it is important to explore how being in a romantic affair impacts high school student’s academic performance. To fill the research gap, this study examines how being in a romantic relationship impacts high school students’ academic performance.
This section covers the methodological approach that will be employed in this study. The section is organized into various subsections, including the research design, study setting, population and sample, instruments, recruitment procedures, and data collection and analysis procedures. Another subsection covered here is the ethical considerations put in place to guarantee participants’ safety. The research question and the hypothesis will guide this section. The research question examines whether there is a significant correlation between being in a romantic relationship and the academic performance of high school students. On the other hand, the hypothesis is that there is a significant correlation between being in a romantic relationship and the academic performance of high school students.
The main research methods include quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research. The type of research method to guide the study depends on the research goal (Ranganathan & Aggarwal, 2018). An appropriate research method must be chosen to sufficiently address the research question(s). This study will adopt a quantitative research method. This research method will be ideal for this study since this study will involve the use of numerical data. Creswell and Creswell (2018) reveal that the quantitative research approach is ideal for large numerical data studies. Also, this research method will be suitable for this study since the study will involve testing the hypothesis mentioned above. Research reveals that a quantitative research method is ideal for studies that seek to test hypotheses and relationships between variables (Bloomfield & Fisher, 2018).
Since the study will adopt a quantitative research method, a quantitative research design will be chosen. The main quantitative research designs include experimental, descriptive, and descriptive research designs. This study will adopt a descriptive research design. Specifically, a correlational design will be chosen for this study. Usually, a correlational research design is utilized to establish any statistical association between variables under study. Therefore, since this study will examine the association between being in a romantic relationship and the academic performance of high school students, the correlational design will be suitable for this research. Supporting the choice of this research design, Aggarwal and Ranganathan (2019) also urge that correlational design enables the researcher to use inferential statistics to analyze the relationship between variables being studied.
This is the social, physical, or experimental context within which the study is carried out. An accurate description of the research setting in a research paper is crucial since the study findings depend heavily on it. The setting of this study will be public high schools in the US.
Population describes the entire group about which a conclusion is drawn (Majid, 2018). The population for this research study will be high school students in the US. The target population is defined as the populace from which a sample is drawn from (Majid, 2018). A sample encompasses all the items of a particular type that the researcher gets information on. The target population for this study will be teachers from public high schools in the US. A sample of 300 teachers will be selected for this study. Only teachers who have taught for more than two years in the chosen schools will be allowed to participate in the study. This is because they will have had enough time to interact and know their students better. Teachers will be recruited to take part in the study since they understand their students better and know most students who are engaged in romantic relationships. Besides, teachers are in a better position to tell how engagement in romantic relationships impacts students’ academic performance since they interact with students who are in romantic relationships and those who are not. Also, since most high schools are minors (below the age of 18), they will not be the ideal respondents to provide data for this study.
A survey questionnaire will be adopted to gather the primary data required for this research. The questionnaire to be used will comprise close-ended questions. These questions will entail placing responses within categories from which the respondents will be chosen from. The questionnaire will adopt a continuous rating scale to allow the investigator to measure the participants’ views and opinions quantitatively. The questionnaire will be self-constructed to enable the investigator to measure all the study variables. The questionnaire will have three sections. The first section will collect participants’ demographic information. The second section will measure student academic performance, and the third will measure students’ engagement in romantic relationships. The items for each construct will be adopted and adapted from past studies. The questionnaire will use the Likert scale (whereby 1=Strongly disagree, 2= disagree, 3= Neutral, 4= Agree, 5=Strongly Agree).
Although the survey questionnaire will be adapted from different past studies, the reliability and validity of the instrument will be validated. Experts in this area of study will validate the content validity of the questionnaire. A copy of the questionnaire draft will be submitted to the validators, who will vet the questionnaire in terms of its coverage of the content area, relevance to the subject matter, appropriateness of language use, and clarity of purpose. All the recommended changes will be made, and the research supervisor will approve the instrument. The reliability of the questionnaire will be measured after data collection. Cronbach’s Alpha test be performed. According to George and Mallery (2003), a coefficient >.9 is excellent, >.8 is good, .7 is acceptable, >.6 is questionable, >.5 poor, and <.5 is unacceptable. For this research, Cronbach’s coefficient will be maintained at >.7.
The 300 participants for this study will be selected from different public high schools in the US. A simple random sampling technique will be employed to select this study’s participants. Random sampling is a sampling technique whereby every element of the sample has an equal probability of being chosen (Carlisle, 2017). The random sampling technique will be preferred since it is the simplest way of choosing respondents from a large target population. To select the 300 participants, a total of 30 public high schools in the US will be randomly selected to take part in the study. Ten teachers will then be randomly selected from each school to take part in the study.
Data Collection Procedure
The identification of the research participants will mark the start of the data collection procedure. The investigator will send a letter to various US secondary schools requesting them to participate in the study. The letter will be addressed to the school principal. In the letter of request, the investigator will inform the school administration of the study’s aims, goals, and purpose. The researcher will then randomly select 30 schools out of all the schools that will be willing to take part in the study. The investigator will then request the school principal to assist them with the contact details of teachers in their schools. The researcher will then send a letter to all the teachers in these schools requesting teachers who have spent more than two years in the chosen school to take part in the study. From each school, a total of ten teachers will be chosen to take part in the study.
Informed consent forms, along with the study brief, will be sent to the research participants via email before the questionnaires are shared with the respondents. Participants will be requested to carefully read the study brief, which will comprise brief information about the study aims and objective, the purpose of the study, and what will be required from the participants. Afterward, they will be required to sign and resubmit the informed consent form to the researcher, which will serve as evidence of voluntary engagement in the study. The researcher will then share the survey questionnaires with the participants. Questionnaires will be sent to respondents via email. Participants will be requested to complete and send the questionnaires to the researcher in 30 days. A reminder email will be sent to the respondents after 14 days reminding them to submit the questionnaires before the 30 days elapse. After thirty days, the researcher will send a thank you note to all the participants, appreciating them for taking part in the study. Questionnaire responses will be aggregated into an excel file for analysis.
Data Analysis Procedure
The data analysis procedure will begin with data cleansing. The data cleansing will be performed using MS Excel. Responses with more than 50% missing data will be eliminated. The cleansed data will then be exported to Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software for analysis. First, a reliability test will be performed. Further, descriptive and inferential statistics will be performed. Pearson’s correlation will be performed to test whether there is a significant correlation between being in a romantic relationship and the academic performance of high school students.
Limitations of the study
The first limitation of this study relates to the confounding variables. Students’ academic performance may be affected by other factors rather than engagement in a romantic relationship. To eliminate the confounding effect of other factors, the researcher will encourage the participants to give their opinions on only how engagement in a romantic relationship impacts student academic performance. Also, since the questionnaire will be self-c constructed, this will increase the internal threat to the validity of the data collection instrument. To deal with this threat, the questionnaire constructs will be adapted from the previously validated questionnaires. Another limitation of this study is that the researcher will be limited to the use of primary data, which will limit the ability of the researcher to gather secondary data.
Ethics are the principles and the norms that guide the study. The researcher will adhere to the required ethical standards to ensure the protection of the research participants as well as ensure the protection of data and accuracy of the collected data. Firstly, before the initial data collection process, the participants will be required to sign an informed consent form. This will serve as proof of participants’ voluntary participation in the study. Also, participants will be informed that participation in the study is free and voluntary. Any participant who wishes to withdraw from the study during the data collection process will be allowed to do without being questioned. Furthermore, the researcher will maintain the anonymity and confidentiality of the research participants. The collected data will not be shared with third-party participants to ensure confidentiality. To ensure that data is not accessible by a third party, the gathered data will be stored on a password-protected personal computer. The backup data will be stored in a flash disk, which will also be available to the researcher only. All the data will be permanently deleted three years after data analysis and reporting. On the other hand, participants’ personal data, such as names, addresses, and mobile numbers, will not be collected to ensure anonymity. Participation in this study will not have any potential risks.
Overall, this section presents the methodological stance that will guide the study. The study will adopt a quantitative research method and a correlational design. This design will be ideal for this study since it will examine the association between variables. A sample of 300 participants will be randomly chosen to participate in the study. The sample will comprise teachers from public high schools in the US. Data will be collected using survey questionnaires. The collected data will be analyzed using SPSS. Descriptive and inferential statistics will be performed. The researcher will adhere to ethical standards to protect research participants.
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