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Romantic relationships in early adulthood: Influences of family, personality, and relationship cognitions

Authors


  • April S. Masarik, Department of Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis; Rand D. Conger, Department of Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis; Monica J. Martin, Family Research Group and Department of Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis; M. Brent Donnellan, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University; Katherine E. Masyn, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University; Frederick O. Lorenz, Department of Statistics, Iowa State University.

    This research is currently supported by grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HD064687, HD051746, MH051361, and HD047573). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies. Support for earlier years of the study also came from multiple sources, including the National Institute of Mental Health (MH00567, MH19734, MH43270, MH59355, MH62989, and MH48165), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA05347), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD027724), the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health (MCJ-109572), and the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Adolescent Development Among Youth in High-Risk Settings.

April S. Masarik, Department of Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, e-mail: ansanders@ucdavis.edu.

Abstract

Two hundred and sixty-five participants and their romantic partners were involved in a prospective, longitudinal, and multimethod study during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Guided by the development of the early adult romantic relationships (DEARR) model (Bryant & Conger, 2002), the research (a) investigated mid-adolescent family experiences and individual differences in personality as predictors of qualities in the early adult romantic union and (b) evaluated the degree to which marital beliefs mediated these associations. Structural equation modeling partially supported the mediating effects of marital beliefs. The findings were generally consistent with the DEARR model, suggesting that it is informative to study early adult romantic relationship functioning within a developmental-contextual framework, while simultaneously considering the unique effects of personality and relationship cognitions.

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