Intimate relationship development during the transition to adulthood: Differences by social class

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Abstract

This article examines differences in young adults' intimate relationships by social class. Lower-class adolescents are more likely to engage in intimate-relationship practices such as cohabitation, early marriage, and sexual activity that may lead to further economic and educational deprivation. Such adolescents have limited access to the special opportunities of emerging adulthood. Social class indirectly shapes the relationships of groups such as prisoners, military personnel, and sexual minorities whose memberships are highly class graded and who are subject to state-controlled relationship constraints. More research is needed on how laws and institutions constrain even the most intimate features of young lives.

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