Mutual and unrequited love in adolescence and young adulthood


  • We are grateful to Ken Bordens for comments on an earlier version or this article. We also thank Scott Bradtmiller and Nancy Fitch for assistance with data collection.

Address reprint requests to Craig Hill (e-mail address: HILLC@CVAX.IPFW.INDIANA.EDU), Judith Blakemore, or Patrick Drumm, Department of Psychological Sciences, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499.


The purpose of the study was to examine the frequency of experiencing passionate love during adolescence and young adulthood as recalled by young adults, and to examine gender differences in this frequency. Female and male US. introductory psychology students, several of whom were of nontraditional age, responded to a questionnaire that asked about the frequency of their mutual and unrequited love experiences. Respondents provided information for four age periods ranging from childhood to age 25 years. Although the frequency of recalled mutual love experiences increased for both genders from childhood through the 16-to-20-year-age period, men reported more episodes or unrequited love during the 16-to-20-year-age period compared to (a) other age periods, (b) their reports of mutual love during that age period, and (c) the reports of unrequited love for 16-to-20-year-old women.