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Keywords:

  • adolescence;
  • culture;
  • identity;
  • relationship style;
  • romantic relationships;
  • young adulthood

The aim of this study was to examine occurrence of romantic relationships and relationship break-ups among young adults in Hong Kong and Australia and to explore associations between relationship style, identity status, negative affect, cultural group, and relationship experiences. Data were collected from Chinese tertiary students in Hong Kong (n = 279) and Anglo-Australian tertiary students in Melbourne, Australia (n = 204). Participants completed a questionnaire including demographics, romantic relationship items, the Love Schemas Scale measuring romantic relationship style, the Extended Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status, and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale. Secure relationship style and more mature identity statuses were associated with having had a romantic relationship. Among those young people with romantic relationship experience, break-ups were less common for those with a foreclosed identity status, skittish (avoidant) relationship style, and Hong Kong Chinese background. Negative mood was higher among those for whom a break-up had been recent. Hurt experienced following a break-up was greater when the break-up was partner initiated and among those with less secure relationship styles and identity statuses. Overall, individual factors were stronger predictors of relationship status than cultural factors.