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The association between romantic relationships and delinquency in adolescence and young adulthood

Authors

  • MING CUI,

    Corresponding author
    1. The Florida State University;
      Ming Cui, Department of Family and Child Sciences, 216 Sandels Building, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, e-mail: mcui@fsu.edu.
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    • Ming Cui, Department of Family and Child Sciences, The Florida State University;

  • KOJI UENO,

    1. The Florida State University;
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    • Koji Ueno, Department of Sociology, The Florida State University;

  • FRANK D. FINCHAM,

    1. The Florida State University;
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    • Frank D. Fincham, The Family Institute, The Florida State University;

  • M. BRENT DONNELLAN,

    1. Michigan State University;
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    • M. Brent Donnellan, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University;

  • K. A. S. WICKRAMA

    1. University of Georgia
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    • K. A. S. Wickrama, Department of Child and Family Development, University of Georgia.


  • This research was supported, in part, by a grant (1R03HD064836) from the Eunice Kenney Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This study uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter, S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by Grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due to Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website (http://www.cpc.unc.edu/addhealth). No direct support was received from Grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.

Ming Cui, Department of Family and Child Sciences, 216 Sandels Building, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, e-mail: mcui@fsu.edu.

Abstract

This study examined the association between romantic relationships and delinquency in adolescence and young adulthood. Using a large, longitudinal, and nationally representative sample, results from negative binomial regressions showed a positive association between romantic involvement and delinquency in adolescence. Furthermore, the cumulative number of romantic relationships from adolescence to young adulthood was positively related to delinquency in young adulthood even after controlling for earlier delinquency in adolescence. These analyses also controlled for the effects of participants' gender, age at initial assessment, puberty, race/ethnicity, and other demographic characteristics (e.g., family structure and parents' education). Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding the role of romantic relationships in the development of young people and for stimulating future research questions.

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