Theories on romantic relationship development posit a progression of involvement and intensity with age, relationship duration, and experience in romantic relationships. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study tests these propositions by considering relationship type and patterns of relationships over the course of adolescence and their influence on relationship formation in young adulthood.
Findings indicate that relationships become more exclusive, dyadic, of longer duration, and more emotionally and sexually intimate over the course of adolescence. Moreover, relationship experience in adolescence is associated with an increased likelihood of cohabitation and marriage in young adulthood. These findings indicate that instead of being trivial or fleeting, adolescent romantic relationships are an integral part of the social scaffolding on which young adult romantic relationships rest.
Much of the literature on social development during the transition to adulthood has focused on the role of key earlier relationships with parents and peers in constructing the social landscape on which young adult relationships will develop. Prior to the mids virtually no research considered the developmental currency provided by adolescent romantic relationships.
The paucity of research in this area can be attributed to several factors including skepticism regarding the importance of perceived short-lived or trivial relationships, research and funding focus on sexual not romantic relationships, and difficulty of both measuring adolescent romance and accounting for romantic relationships using existing theories of social or interpersonal development Brown, Feiring, and Furman ; Collins The past decade has seen a marked increase in studies on adolescent romantic relationships.
This increase is driven by a number of factors. First, romantic relationships have been implicated both in negative behaviors Neeman, Hubbard and Masten and psychosocial well-being Joyner and Udry ; Davies and Windle and cited as imperative for development Giordano ; Giordano, Longmore, and Manning ; Erikson Thus, researchers have aimed to identify the age, stage, and social conditions under which such relationships are pro-social or maladaptive.
Especially relevant for the study of social development, young people are delaying marriage so that the average age at first marriage is 25 for women and 27 for men U. At the same time, half of all adolescents report romantic involvement by the age of 15 Carver, Joyner, and Udry This means that on average, adolescents have ten to twelve years of romantic experience prior to marriage. Not only is this a significant span of time, it is also dense with regard to individual and interpersonal development Dornbusch Finally, theories have developed "Paucity in a sentence yahoo dating" adapted to more fully account for romantic experience in adolescence Furman and Wehner ; Brown ; Connolly and Goldberg ; Allen and Land ; Collins ; Collins and Sroufe ; Giordano ; Giordano et al.
Empirical research to test new theoretical propositions has begun to appear in the literature, yet gaps remain in the evidentiary base. Thus, understanding adolescent romantic relationships becomes a timely and compelling research objective. In this paper we review and integrate existing theories on the development of romantic experience through adolescence and into adulthood. We then review findings from empirical forays into the romantic lives of adolescents.
Next, guided by theory we conduct prospective empirical analyses that describe patterns of relationship involvement, assess their correlates, and estimate the associations between relationship progression and both qualitative aspects of adolescent relationships and the formation of young adult relationships. Our analyses use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Add Healthdata that has proven useful in other studies of adolescent romance Joyner and Udry ; Giordano et al.
Our contribution with these data is unique because we test developmental theories and empirically follow adolescents into young adulthood by utilizing all three waves of the data. Finally, we integrate our findings with those of other studies and assess future research "Paucity in a sentence yahoo dating." Several important theoretical schemas have emerged to help make sense of how adolescent Paucity in a sentence yahoo dating relationships fit into the existing social relationship order and how they develop over time.
While these schemas are relatively new, they have roots in earlier theories of development. Furman and Wehner offer a behavioral systems approach to understand the various developmental tasks accomplished by adolescent romance. Furman and Wehner arrive at this conceptualization of adolescent romantic relationships by merging ideas from attachment theory e.
According to the behavioral systems approach, the affiliative function of adolescent romantic relationships offers companionship, reciprocity and cooperation.
The attachment system is characterized by love, closeness, bonding, and feelings of security, and the Paucity in a sentence yahoo dating giving system is represented by support and assistance between partners. In fact, these latter two systems may not manifest until early adulthood. The behavioral systems model suggests that systems are engaged in a cumulative fashion, rather than a progression where one system gives way to another. While Furman and Wehner describe behavioral systems in adolescent romantic relationships, Brown and Connolly and Goldberg introduce phase- or stage-based models of the progression of romantic experience during adolescence.
Similarities between the progression models of Brown and Connolly and Goldberg allow for the identification of four distinct phases: Both of these models are rooted in early work by Dunphy on the progression of adolescent romantic relationships from crowds to heterosexual dyads.
In the initiation phase, attraction and desire are key feelings, but actual contact potential partners is limited. In the affiliation phase, opposite-sex individuals interact in group settings. This provides opportunities to learn how to interact with the opposite sex and to meet potential partners.