Social Dating Goals in Late Adolescence: Implications for Safer Sexual Activity

Catherine A. Sanderson, Nancy Cantor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This research examined 2 age-typical goals that adolescents may pursue in social dating (intimacy goals related to open communication and mutual dependence and identity goals related to self-reliance and self-exploration) and the implications of these different goal sets for responsiveness to educational and daily life situations. Education about safer sexual activity that emphasized interpersonal communication skills was more effective in increasing intentions regarding safer sex for adolescents with predominant intimacy goals in dating, whereas education that focused on technical skills was more effective for those with predominant identity goals. Adolescents were also less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior when they were in dating situations that encouraged goal-relevant activities for ensuring safer sex. Discussion focuses on the dynamics within the broader bidirectional fit between personal goals and situational affordances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1121-1134
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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