Adolescents’ Working Models and Styles for Relationships with Parents, Friends, and Romantic Partners


  • Wyndol Furman,

  • Valerie A. Simon,

  • Laura Shaffer,

  • Heather A. Bouchey


This study examined the links among adolescents’ representations of their relationships with parents, friends, and romantic partners. Sixty-eight adolescents were interviewed three times to assess their working models for each of these types of relationships. Working models of friendships were related to working models of relationships with parents and romantic partners. Working models of relationships with parents and romantic partners were inconsistently related. A similar pattern of results was obtained for self-report measures of relational styles for the three types of relationships. Perceived experiences were also related. Specifically, support in relationships with parents tended to be related to support in romantic relationships and friendships, but the latter two were unrelated. On the other hand, self and other controlling behaviors in friendships were related to corresponding behaviors in romantic relationships. Negative interactions in the three types of relationships also tended to be related. Taken together, the findings indicate that the representations of the three types of relationships are distinct, yet related. Discussion focuses on the nature of the links among the three.