Effects of participation in a longitudinal study of dating


  • Catherine A. Surra, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin; Melissa A. Curran, Department of Family Studies and Human Development, University of Arizona; Kristi Williams, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University.

  • The authors would like to thank the editor, Denise Solomon, and the anonymous reviewers, Brian Ogolsky, Tim Loving, Adam West, and Shanna Smith for their helpful contributions to this article. Preparation of this article was supported by a grant to the first author from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH47975).

Catherine Surra, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, 1 University Station, A2700, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, e-mail: surra@austin.utexas.edu.


Participation in interviews has the potential to change beliefs about dating relationships. Changes in beliefs should vary as a function of how much participants think and talk about their relationships. Participants (N= 464) were randomly selected for an interview study from households in a large Southwestern U.S. city. Participation should have positive effects on beliefs when thinking or talking is high and negative effects when thinking or talking is low. As predicted, talking moderates the association between participation and conflict, and thinking moderates the effects of participation on satisfaction and friendship-based love. Results differed for men and women. Under conditions of low talk and high thinking, participation has negative effects. Implications of the effects of participation are discussed.