Teens’ Same-Gender Friendships Key To Later Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships

Posted on January 29, 2019

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Research has shown that both physical and mental health in adolescence plays a major role in the quality of an adult’s romantic life. However, researchers at the University of Virginia and James Madison University conducted a new longitudinal study to discover the factors in adolescence that best predicted who would and would not have a satisfying romantic life in their late 20s. One of the professor of psychology at the University of Virginia who led the study claimed that the adolescent romantic relationships where teens put their emphasis on, turn out not to be the most important predictor of future romantic success. Instead, the key for success in adult romantic relationships are the skills learned in friendships with peers of the same gender. The skills include stability, assertiveness, intimacy, and social competence.

Researchers interviewed and observed 165 adolescents, which the participants lived in suburban and urban areas in the southeastern United States and the group was racial, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse. The study assessed teens’ reports of the quality of their social and romantic relationships, along with reports by close friends. Researchers also interviewed participants about how satisfied they were with romantic life when the youth were in their late 20s.

The study discovered that the progress in social developmental tasks in adolescence predicted future romantic competence at ages 27 to 30, even though the adolescent tasks were not in romantic areas. For instance, at age 13, adolescents’ abilities to establish positive expectations of relationships with their peers and to be appropriately confidence with peers were the best predictors of future romantic satisfaction. At the age of 15 and 16, teens’ social competence, which is their ability to establish close friendships and to manage a broad array of relationships with peers, was the best predictor. And from ages 16 to 18, teens’ ability to establish and maintain close, stable friendships was the best predictor of satisfaction romantically.

These factors were more closely associated than anything related to romantic behaviour in adolescence, such as how much teens dated, or if they were involved physically in romantic relationships etc. One of the researchers for this study claimed that romantic relationships in adolescence is not as impactful due to the romantic relationships in adolescence are more likely to be fleeting.

Category(s):Relationships & Marriage

Source material from Science Daily

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