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PowerPoint slides prepared by Leonard R. Mendola, PhD
Touro College
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Chapter 9: Peers, Romantic Relationships, and Life Styles
Outline
• EXPLORING PEER RELATIONS
– Peer Relations
– Friendship
– Loneliness
• ADOLESCENT GROUPS
– Groups in Childhood and Adolescence
– Cliques and Crowds
– Youth Organizations
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Chapter 9: Peers, Romantic Relationships, and Life Styles
Outline
• GENDER AND CULTURE
– Gender
– Socioeconomic Status and Ethnicity
– Culture
• DATING AND ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
–
–
–
–
–
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Functions of Dating
Types of Dating and Developmental Changes
Emotion, Adjustment and Romantic Relationships
Romantic Love and Its Construction
Gender and Culture
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Chapter 9: Peers, Romantic Relationships, and Life Styles
Outline
•
EMERGING ADULT LIFESTYLES
– Single Adults
– Cohabiting Adults
– Married Adults
– Divorced Adults
– Gay Male and Lesbian Adults
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Peer Relations
– What functions do peer groups serve?
– How are family and peer relations linked?
– How extensively do adolescents engage in
conformity?
– What kinds of statuses do peers have?
• Peer Group Functions
– Adolescents have strong needs to be liked and
accepted by friends and the larger peer group.
– To many adolescents, how they are seen by peers is
the most important aspect of their lives.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Peers
– Individuals who are about the same age or maturity
level.
– Same-age peer interaction serves a unique role in
U.S. culture.
– Age grading would occur even if schools were not
graded and adolescents were left alone to
determine the composition of their own societies.
– One of the most important functions of the peer
group is to provide a source of information about
the world outside the family.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Peer Contexts
– Peer interaction is influenced by contexts, which
can include the type of peer the adolescent
interacts with.
•
•
•
•
•
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An acquaintance
A crowd
A clique
A friend
A romantic partner
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Peer Contexts (Continued)
– Peer interaction is also influenced by the situation
or location where they are.
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
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School
Neighborhood
Community center
Dance
Religious setting
Sporting event
Culture (Brown & Larson, 2009; Brown & others, 2008)
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Individual Difference Factors
– Among the wide range of individual differences
that can affect peer relations are personality traits.
– Other individual differences include:
• How open the adolescent is to peer influence.
• The status/power of the adolescent versus the
status/power of the other adolescent or adolescent peer
group (Brown & Larson, 2009; Brown & others, 2008).
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
•
Developmental Changes in Time Spent with Peers
– Boys and girls spend an increasing amount of time in
peer interaction during middle and late childhood
and adolescence.
– By adolescence, peer relations occupy large chunks
of an individual’s life.
– In one investigation, over the course of one weekend,
young adolescent boys and girls spent more than
twice as much time with peers than with parents
(Condry, Simon, & Bronfenbrenner, 1968).
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
•
Are Peers Necessary for Development?
– Good peer relations might be necessary for normal
social development in adolescence.
– Social isolation is linked with many different forms of
problems and disorders, ranging from delinquency
and problem drinking to depression (Dishion, Piehler,
& Myers, 2008).
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Positive and Negative Peer Relations
– Through peer interaction children and adolescents
learn the symmetrical reciprocity mode of
relationships.
– Adolescents explore the principles of fairness and
justice by working through disagreements with
peers.
– They also learn to be keen observers of peers’
interests and perspectives in order to smoothly
integrate themselves into ongoing peer activities.
– Adolescents learn to be skilled and sensitive
partners in intimate relationships.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Positive and Negative Peer Relations (Continued)
– Being rejected or overlooked by peers leads some
adolescents to feel lonely or hostile.
– Rejection and neglect by peers are related to an
individual’s subsequent mental health and criminal
problems (Bukowski, Brendgen, & Vitaro, 2007).
– Time spent hanging out with antisocial peers in
adolescence was a stronger predictor of substance
abuse than time spent with parents (Nation &
Heflinger, 2006).
– Deviant peer affiliation was related to adolescents’
depressive symptoms (Connell & Dishion, 2006).
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Family-Peer Linkages
• Parents have little authority over adolescents’
choices in some areas but more authority of choices
in other areas.
• Adolescents do show a strong motivation to be with
their peers and become independent.
• Adolescents live in a connected world with parents
and peers, not a disconnected one (Allen &
Antonishak, 2008;Doge & others, 2006).
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Family-Peer Linkages
(Continued)
• What are some of the ways the worlds of parents and
peers are connected?
• Parents’ choices of neighborhoods, churches, schools, and
their own friends influence the pool from which their
adolescents select possible friends (Cooper & Ayers-Lopez,
1985).
• Parents can model or coach their adolescents in ways of
relating to peers.
• Secure attachment to parents is related to the adolescent’s
positive peer relations (Allen & Antonishak, 2008).
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Peer Pressure
• Young adolescents conform more to peer standards
than children do.
• Around the 8th and 9th grades, conformity to peers—
especially to their antisocial standards—peaks
(Berndt, 1979; Brown & Larson, 2009; Brown & others,
2008).
• A recent study revealed that 14 to 18 years of age is
an especially important time for developing the
ability to stand up for what one believes and resist
peer pressure to do otherwise (Steinberg & Monahan,
2007).
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Peer Pressure (Continued)
• Which adolescents are most likely to conform?
• Cohen & Prinstein, 2006; Prinstein, 2007; Prinstein &
Dodge, 2008 have concluded the following adolescents
are more likely to conform:
• Adolescents who are uncertain about their social
identity.
• Have low self-esteem.
• Have high social anxiety.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
•
Peer Statuses
• The term sociometric status is used to describe the extent to
which children and adolescents are liked or disliked by their
peer group.
– Assessed by asking children to rate how much they like or
dislike each of their classmates.
– Also assessed by asking children and adolescents to
nominate the peers they like and those they like the least.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Peer Statuses (Continued)
• Developmentalists have distinguished five types pf
peer statuses (Wentzel & Asher, 1995).
• Popular children
• Are frequently nominated as a best friend and are rarely
disliked by their peers.
• Average children
• Receive an average number of both positive and
negative nominations from their peers.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Peer Statuses (Continued)
• Neglected children
• Are infrequently nominated as a best friend but are not
disliked by their peers.
• Rejected children
• Are infrequently nominated as someone’s best friend
and are actively disliked by their peers.
• Controversial children
• Are frequently nominated both as someone’s best friend
and as being disliked.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
•
An analysis by John Coie (2004, pp. 252-253) provided three
reasons why aggressive peer-rejected boys have
problems in social relationships.
1. Rejected, aggressive boys are more impulsive and have
problems sustaining attention. As a result, they are more likely
to be disruptive of ongoing activities in the classroom.
2. Rejected, aggressive boys are more emotionally reactive. They
are aroused to anger more easily and probably have more
difficulty calming down once aroused. Because of this they
are more prone to become angry at peers and attack them
verbally and physically.
3. Rejected children have fewer social skills in making friends
and maintaining positive relationships with peers.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
•
Not all rejected children are aggressive (Hymel,
McDougall, & Renshaw, 2004).
•
•
Approximately 10 to 20 percent of rejected children are
shy.
Much of the peer status research involves samples from
middle and late childhood, and in some cases early
adolescence, but not late adolescence.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Social Cognition and Emotion
• Social cognitive skills and social knowledge of
adolescents are important aspects of successful
peer relations. So is the ability to manage and
regulate one’s emotions.
• Social cognition involves thoughts about social
matters (Smetana & Villalobos, 2009).
• A distinction can be made between knowledge and
process in social cognition.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Social Cognition
• As children move into adolescence, they acquire
more social knowledge.
• There is considerable individual variation in how
much one adolescent knows about what it takes to
make friends.
• From a social cognitive perspective, children and
adolescents may have difficulty in peer relations
because they lack appropriate social cognitive skills
(Bibok, Carpendale, & Lewis, 2008: Mueller & others,
2008; Rah & Parke, 2008).
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
Generation of Alternative Solutions and Adaptive Planning
by Negative- and Positive-Peer-Status Boys
Fig. 9.1
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Emotion
• Not only does cognition play an important role in
peer relations, so does emotion.
• Moody and emotionally negative individuals
experience greater rejection by peers.
• Emotionally positive individuals are more popular
(Saarni & others, 2006).
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Strategies for Improving Social Skills
• Conglomerate strategies (coaching)
– Involves the use of a combination of techniques,
rather than a single approach, to improve
adolescents’ social skills.
– A conglomerate strategy may consist of:
•
•
•
•
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Modeling of appropriate social skills.
Discussion.
Reasoning about the social skills.
Reinforcement for enactment in actual social
situations.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Strategies for Improving Social Skills (Continued)
• Social-skills training programs have generally been
more successful with children 10 years of age or
younger than with adolescents (Malik & Furman, 1993).
• Peer reputations become more fixed as cliques and
peer groups become more significant in adolescence.
• Once an adolescent gains a negative reputation among
peers as being “mean,” “weird,” or a “loner,” the peer
group’s attitude is often slow to change, even after the
adolescent’s problem behavior has been corrected.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Friendship
• Friends are a subset of peers who engage in mutual
companionship, support, and intimacy.
• Relationships with friends are much closer and more
involved than is the case with the peer group.
• Some adolescents have several close friends, others
one, and yet others none.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
The Functions of Friendship
Companionship
Stimulation
Physical support
Ego support
Social Comparison
Intimacy/affection
Fig. 9.2
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
•
Harry Stack Sullivan’s (1953) Ideas on Changes in
Friendship in Early Adolescence
• Sullivan argued that friends are important in shaping the
development of children and adolescents.
• During adolescence, said Sullivan, friends become increasingly
important in meeting social needs.
• Sullivan argued that the need for intimacy intensifies during
early adolescence, motivating teenagers to seek out close
friends.
• If adolescents failed to forge such close friendships, they
experience loneliness and a reduced sense of self-worth.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
Developmental Changes in Self-Disclosing Conversations
Fig. 9.3
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
•
Viewed from the developmental constructionist
perspective adolescent friendship represents a new
mode of relating to others that is best described as a
symmetrical intimate mode.
• The greater intimacy of adolescent friendships demands
requires learning a number of close relationship
competencies, including:
• Knowing how to self-disclose appropriately.
• Being able to provide emotional support to friends.
• Managing disagreements in ways that do not undermine the
intimacy of the friendship.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Friendship in Emerging Adulthood
• Many aspects of friendship are the same in
adolescence as in emerging adulthood.
• Close relationships—between friends, family
members, and romantic partners—were more
integrated and similar than in adolescence.
• The number of friendships declined from the end of
adolescence through emerging adulthood.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Intimacy
• Defined broadly it includes everything in a
relationship that makes the relationship seem close
or intense.
• Defined narrowly as self-disclosure or sharing of
private thoughts.
• The most consistent finding in the last two decades
of research on adolescent friendships is that
intimacy is an important feature of friendship
(Selman, 1980).
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Similarity
• Friends are generally similar—in terms of age, sex,
ethnicity, and other factors.
• Similarity is referred to as homophily, the tendency
to associate with similar others (Prinstein & Dodge,
2008: Rubin, Fredstorm, & Bowker, 2008).
• Friends often have similar attitudes toward school,
similar educational aspirations, and closely aligned
achievement orientations.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Mixed-Age Friendships
• Some adolescents become best friends with younger
or older individuals.
• Do older friends encourage adolescents to engage in
delinquent behavior or early sexual behavior?
– Adolescents who interact with older youths do engage in
these behaviors more frequently.
– It is not known whether the older youth guide younger
adolescents toward deviant behavior or whether the younger
adolescents were already prone to deviant behavior.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Loneliness
• For some individuals loneliness is a chronic
condition.
• Chronic loneliness is linked with impaired
physical and mental health (Karnick, 2008).
• It is important to distinguish loneliness from
the desire for solitude.
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Exploring Peer Relations and Friendship
• Loneliness (Continued)
• Loneliness is often interwoven with the passage
through life transitions:
• A move to a different part of the country.
• A divorce.
• The death of a close friend or family member.
• The first year of college may create loneliness
especially if students leave the familiar world of their
hometown and family to enter college.
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Adolescent Groups
• Groups in Childhood and Adolescence
– Childhood groups differ from adolescent groups.
• Childhood groups often are friends or
neighborhood acquaintances.
• The groups usually are not as formalized as
many adolescent groups.
– Adolescent groups.
• Tend to include a broader array of members; in
other words, adolescents, other than friends or
neighborhood acquaintances, often are
members of adolescent groups.
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Adolescent Groups
Dunphy’s Progression of Peer Group Relations in Adolescence
Fig. 9.4
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Adolescent Groups
• Cliques and Crowds
– Cliques are small groups that range from 2 to about
12 individuals and average about 5 to 6 individuals.
• Members are usually of the same sex and are
similar in age.
• Adolescents engage in similar activities.
– Being in a club together or on a sports team.
– Crowds are larger than cliques.
• Crowds are less personal than cliques.
• Defined by the activities adolescents engage in
(Brown & others, 2008).
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Adolescent Groups
• Youth Organizations
– Can have an important influence on the adolescent’s
development (Mahoney & others, 2009; Pearce & Larson,
2006).
– More than 400 national youth organizations currently
operate in the United States (Erickson, 1996).
– The organizations include:
• Career groups (Junior Achievement).
• Building character groups (Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts).
• Political groups (Young Republicans and Young Democrats).
• Ethnic groups (Indian Youth of America).
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Adolescent Groups
• Youth Organizations (Continued)
– Serve approximately 30 million young people each
year.
– The largest youth organization is 4-H, with nearly 5
million participants.
– The smallest organizations are ASPIRA, a Latino
youth organization that provides intensive
educational enrichment programs for about 13,000
adolescents each year.
– WAVE, a dropout-prevention program that serves
about 8,000 adolescents each year.
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Adolescent Groups
• Youth Organizations
– Adolescents who join such groups are more likely to
participate in community activities in adulthood.
– Have higher self-esteem.
– Are better educated.
– Come from families with higher incomes than their
counterparts who do not participate in youth groups
(Erickson, 1982).
– Participation in youth groups can help adolescents
practice the interpersonal and organizational skills
that are important for success in adult roles.
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Adolescent Groups
• Youth Organizations
– Some of the reasons given by middle school
adolescents for not participating in youth programs:
• Lack of interest in available activities.
• Lack of transportation.
• Lack of awareness about what is available.
– Parents see similar barriers, especially transportation
and costs.
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Gender and Culture
• Gender
– Gender plays an important role in the peer group and
friendships (Blakemore, Berenbaum, & Linden, 2009).
– Group size
• Boys are more likely than girls to associate in
larger clusters.
• Boys are more likely to participate in organized
games and sports than girls are.
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Gender and Culture
• Gender
– Interaction in same-sex groups
• Boys are more often likely than girls to engage in
competition, conflict, ego displays, and risk taking
and to seek dominance
• Girls are more likely to engage in “collaborative
discourse,” in which they talk and act in a more
reciprocal manner.
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49
Gender and Culture
• Socioeconomic Status and Ethnicity
– Peer groups are strongly segregated according to
socioeconomic status and ethnicity.
– Middle-SES students often assume the leadership
roles in formal organizations.
– Athletic teams are one type of adolescent group in
which African American adolescents and adolescents
from low-income families have been able to gain
parity or even surpass adolescents from middle- and
upper-SES families in achieving status.
– Peer groups may form to oppose those of the
majority group.
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Gender and Culture
• Culture
– In some countries, adults restrict adolescents’ access
to peers.
• Interaction with the other sex or opportunities for
romantic relationships are restricted (Booth, 2002).
– Japanese adolescents seek autonomy from their
parents later and have less conflict with them.
– The peer group was more important to U.S.
adolescents than to Japanese adolescents (Rothbaum
& others, 2000).
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Gender and Culture
• Culture
– In Southeast Asia and some Arab regions,
adolescents are starting to rely more on peers for
advice and share interests with them (Booth, 2002;
Santa Maria, 2002).
– In many countries and regions, peers play more
prominent roles in adolescents’ lives (Brown & Larson,
2002).
– Similar results have been observed throughout
Europe and North America (Arnett, 2002).
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52
Dating and Romantic Relationships
• Functions of Dating
– Dating is a relatively recent phenomenon.
• In the 1920s, it became a reality.
• Its primary role was to select and win a mate.
• Dating has evolved into something more than just
courtship for marriage.
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Dating and Romantic Relationships
– Dating today can serve at least eight functions (Paul &
White, 1990):
•
•
•
•
•
Recreation.
Source of status and achievement.
Part of the socialization process.
Involves learning about intimacy.
Context for sexual experimentation and
exploration.
• Provide companionship.
• Identity formation and development.
• A means of mate sorting and selection.
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Dating and Romantic Relationships
• Types of Dating and Developmental Changes
– Heterosexual Romantic Relationships
• Early romantic relationships serve as a context for
adolescents to explore how attractive they are,
how to interact romantically, and how all of these
aspects look to the peer group.
• Only after adolescents acquire some basic
competencies in interacting with romantic partners
does the fulfillment of attachment and sexual
needs become a central function of these
relationships (Furman & Wehner, 1998).
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55
Dating and Romantic Relationships
• Types of Dating and Developmental Changes
– Heterosexual Romantic Relationships (Continued)
• Adolescents often find comfort in numbers in their
early exploration of romantic relationships
(Connolly & McIsaac, 2009).
• During early adolescence, individuals spent more
time thinking about the opposite sex than they
actually spent with them.
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56
Adolescent Groups
Age of Onset of Romantic Activity
Fig. 9.5
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Dating and Romantic Relationships
•
Romantic Relationships in Sexual Minority Youth
– Most research has focused on heterosexual
relationships.
– Recently, researchers have begun to study romantic
relationships in gay male, lesbian, and bisexual youth
(Diamond & Savin-Williams, 2009).
– The average age of the initial same-sex activity for
females ranges from 14 to 18 years of age and for
males from 13 to 15 (Diamond & Savin-Williams, 2009).
– The most common initial same-sex partner is a close
friend.
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Dating and Romantic Relationships
•
Romantic Relationships in Sexual Minority Youth
(Continued)
– More lesbian adolescent girls have sexual encounters
with boys before same-sex activity, whereas gay
adolescent boys are more likely to show the opposite
sequence (Savin-Williams, 2006).
– Most sexual minority youth have same-sex sexual
experience, but relatively few have same-sex
romantic relationships because of limited
opportunities and the social disapproval such
relationships may generate from families & peers
(Diamond & Savin-Williams, 2009).
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59
Dating and Romantic Relationships
• Emotion, Adjustment, and Romantic
Relationships
– Romantic emotions can envelop adolescents’ and
emerging adults’ lives (Connolly & McIssac, 2009).
– Emotions are positive, in others negative.
– A concern is that in some cases the negative
emotions are too intense and prolonged, and can lead
to adjustment problems.
• Dating and Adjustment
– Linked with various measures of how well adjusted
adolescents are (Barber, 2006; Connolly & McIssac,
2009).
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60
Dating and Romantic Relationships
• Dissolution of a Romantic Relationship
– Being in love when love is not returned can lead to:
• Depression.
• Obsessive thoughts.
• Sexual dysfunction.
• Inability to work effectively.
• Difficulty in making new friends.
• Self-condemnation.
• Thinking clearly in such relationships is often
difficult, because the person is so colored by
arousing emotions.
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61
Dating and Romantic Relationships
• Dissolution of a Romantic Relationship
– Studies of romantic breakups have mainly focused on
their negative aspects (Kato, 2005).
– Few studies have examined the possibility that a
romantic breakup might lead to positive changes
(Sbarra & Ferrer, 2006).
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62
Dating and Romantic Relationships
• Romantic Love and Its Construction
•
– Romantic love is also called passionate love or eros.
– Has strong sexual and infatuation components.
– Often predominates in the early part of a love
relationship.
– Extremely important among college students.
Affectionate love
– Also called companionate love.
– More characteristic of adult love than adolescent love
(Weis & Sternberg, 2008).
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63
Dating and Romantic Relationships
• Affectionate love (Continued)
– Adolescents’ observations of their parents’ martial
relationship also contribute to their own construction
of dating relationships.
– Parents are likely to be more involved or interested in
their daughters’ dating patterns and relationships
than their sons’.
– Peer relations and friendships also provide the
opportunity to learn modes of relating that are carried
over into romantic relationships (Collins, Welsh, &
Furman, 2009).
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Dating and Romantic Relationships
• Gender and Culture
– Dating and romantic relationships may vary.
• Gender
– Do male and female adolescents bring different
motivations to the dating experience?
• Candice Feiring (1996) found that they did.
– Girls were more likely to describe romance in terms of
interpersonal qualities.
– Boys in terms of physical attraction.
• Dating scripts
– Are the cognitive models that adolescents and adults
use to guide and evaluate dating interactions.
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65
Dating and Romantic Relationships
• Ethnicity and Culture
– The sociocultural context exerts a powerful influence
on adolescent dating patterns and on mate selection
(Booth, 2002; Stevenson & Zusho, 2002).
– Values and religious beliefs of people in various
cultures often dictate:
• The age at which dating begins.
• How much freedom in dating is allowed.
• The extent to which dates are chaperoned by parents or
other adults.
• The respective roles of males and females in dating.
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Single Adults
– There has been a dramatic rise in the percentage of
single adults.
– From 2000 to 2006, there was a significant increase in
single adults in the United States from 20 to 29 years
of age (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006).
– In 2000, 64 percent of men from 20 to 29 years of age
said they were single but by 2006 the percentage had
increased to 73 percent, while the comparable
percentages for women were 53 percent in 2000 and
62 percent in 2006.
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Single Adults
– Often are stereotyped (Schwartz & Scott, 2007):
• “swinging single”
• “desperately lonely”
• “suicidal”
– Most single adults are somewhere between these
extremes.
– Common problems of single adults may include
forming intimate relationships with other adults,
confronting loneliness, and finding a niche in a
society that is marriage oriented.
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Single Adults
– Advantages of being single include:
• Having time to make decisions about one’s life
course.
• Time to develop personal resources to meet goals.
• Freedom to make autonomous decisions.
• Pursue one’s own schedule and interests.
• Opportunities to explore new places.
• Try out new things.
• Privacy.
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69
Emerging Adult Lifestyles
•
Cohabiting Adults
• Cohabitation refers to living together in a sexual relationship
without being married.
• Has undergone considerable changes in recent years (U.S.
Census Bureau, 2008).
• Many couples view their cohabitation not as a precursor to
marriage but as an ongoing lifestyle.
• In the United States cohabiting arrangements tend to be
short-lived, with one-third lasting less than a year.
• Researchers have found a higher rate of domestic violence
among cohabiting couples than in married couples (Kenney &
McLanahan, 2006).
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Cohabiting Adults (Continued)
• Fewer than one out of ten lasts five years.
• Relationships between cohabiting men and women
tend to be more equal than those between husbands
and wives (Wineberg, 1994).
• Disapproval by parents and other family members
can place emotional strain on the cohabiting couple.
• Some cohabiting couples have difficulty owning
property jointly.
• Legal rights on the dissolution of the relationship are
less certain than in a divorce.
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71
Emerging Adult Lifestyles
The Increase in Cohabitation in the United States
Fig. 9.6
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Married Adults
• Until about 1930, stable marriage was widely
accepted as the endpoint of adult development.
• In the last 60 years, personal fulfillment both inside
and outside marriage has emerged as a goal that
competes with marital stability.
• Marital Trends
• Marriage rates in the United States have declined.
• More adults are remaining single longer today.
• The average duration of a marriage in the United
States is currently just over nine years.
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Marital Trends (Continued)
• In 2005, the U.S. average age for a first marriage
climbed to just over 27 years for men and 26 years for
women, higher than at any point in history (U.S.
Bureau of the Census, 2005).
• Despite the decline in marriage rates, the United
States is still a marrying society.
• More than 90 percent of U.S. women still marry at some point
in their lives.
• Marriages in adolescence are more likely to end in
divorce than marriages in adulthood (Furstenberg,
2007).
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Marital Trends (Continued)
• International comparisons of marriage also reveal
that individuals in Scandinavian countries marry later
than Americans, whereas their counterparts in
Eastern Europe marry earlier (Bianchi & Spain, 1986).
• In Hungary, early marriage and childbearing is
encouraged to offset declines in the population.
• Japan has a high proportion of unmarried young
people.
• Unmarried Japanese young adults live at home
longer with their parents before marrying.
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75
Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Premarital Education
– Occurs in a group and focuses on relationship advice
(Busby & others, 2007; Duncan, Holman, & Yang, 2007).
– Researchers have found that premarital education
can improve the quality of a marriage and possibly
reduce the chances that the marriage will end in
divorce (Carroll & Doherty, 2003).
– It is recommended that premarital education begin
approximately six months to a year before the
wedding.
– To improve their relationships, some couples seek
counseling.
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76
Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Divorced Adults
– Divorce has become epidemic in the United States
(Coontz, 2007).
– The divorce rate was increasing annually by 10
percent but has been declining since the 1980s
(Hernandez, 2007).
– Those in disadvantaged groups have a higher
incidence of divorce.
– Youthful marriage, low educational level, low income,
not having a religious affiliation, having parents who
are divorced, and having a baby before marriage are
associated with increases in divorce (Poponoe &
Whitehead, 2007; Rodriques, Hall, & Fincham, 2006).
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Divorced Adults (Continued)
– If a divorce is going to occur, it usually takes place
early in a marriage; most occur in the fifth to tenth
year of marriage (National Center for Health Statistics,
2000).
– Those adults who initiated their divorce experience
challenges after a marriage dissolves (Amato & Irving,
2006; Hetherington & Kelly, 2002).
– Both divorced women and divorced men complain of
loneliness, diminished self-esteem, anxiety about the
unknowns in their lives, and difficulty in forming
satisfactory new intimate relationships.
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
The Divorce Rate in Relation to Number of Years Married
Fig. 9.7
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Divorced Adults (Continued)
– Separated and divorced women and men have higher
rates of psychiatric disorders, depression,
alcoholism, and psychosomatic problems than do
married adults (Eng & others, 2005).
– Psychologically, one of the most common
characteristics of divorced adults is difficulty in
trusting someone else in a romantic relationship.
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80
Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Gay Male and Lesbian Adults
– The legal and social context of marriage creates
barriers to breaking up that do not usually exist for
same-sex partners.
– But in other ways researchers have found that gay
male and lesbian relationships are similar—in their
satisfactions, loves, joys, and conflicts—to
heterosexual relationships (Hyde & DeLamater, 2008;
Kurdek, 2006; Peplau & Fingerhut, 2007).
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Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Gay Male and Lesbian Adults (Continued)
– Like heterosexual couples, gay male and lesbian
couples need to find the balance of romantic love,
affection, autonomy, and equality that is acceptable
to both partners (Kurdek, 2004).
– Lesbian couples especially place a high priority on
equality in their relationships (Peplau & Fingerhut,
2007).
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82
Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Gay Male and Lesbian Adults (Continued)
– Gay male and lesbian couples are more flexible in
their gender roles than heterosexual individuals are
(Marecek, Finn, & Cardell, 1988).
– A recent study of couples revealed that over the
course of ten years of cohabitation, partners in gay
male and lesbian relationships showed a higher
average level of relationship quality than
heterosexual couples (Kurdek, 2007).
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83
Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Gay Male and Lesbian Adults (Continued)
– There are a number of misconceptions about gay
male and lesbian couples (Peplau & Fingerhut, 2007).
• Contrary to stereotypes, one partner is masculine and the
other feminine in only a small percentage of gay male and
lesbian couples.
• Only a small segment of the gay male population have a large
number of sexual partners and this is uncommon among
lesbians.
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84
Emerging Adult Lifestyles
• Gay Male and Lesbian Adults (Continued)
– Researchers have found that gay males and lesbians
prefer long-term relationships (Peplau & Fingerhut,
2007).
– About half of committed gay male couples do have an
open relationship that allows the possibility of sex
(but not affectionate love) outside the relationship.
– Lesbian couples usually do not have this open
relationship.
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85
RESOURCES FOR IMPROVING THE LIVES OF ADOLESCENTS
Understanding Peer Influence in Children and Adolescents
edited by Mitchell Prinstein & Kenneth Dodge. (2008). New
York: Guilford.
Leading experts describe many facets of peer relations in
adolescence, including current issues, peer influence processes,
positive and negative aspects of peer relations, and bullying.
McGraw-Hill
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86
RESOURCES FOR IMPROVING THE LIVES OF ADOLESCENTS
“Adolescent Romantic Relationships” by W. Andrew
Collins, Deborah Welsh, and Wyndol Furman (2009).
In Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 60. Palo Alto, CA:
Annual Reviews.
Experts provide an up-to-date overview of theory and
research on the much-neglected topic of romantic
relationships in adolescence.
McGraw-Hill
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87
RESOURCES FOR IMPROVING THE LIVES OF ADOLESCENTS
Just Friends by Lillian Rubin. (1985). New York:
HarperCollins.
Just Friends explores the nature of friendship and
intimacy.
McGraw-Hill
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88
E-LEARNING TOOLS
To help you master the material in this
chapter, visit the Online Learning Center
for Adolescence, 13th edition at:
http://www.mhhe.com/santrocka13e
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Chapter 3 - Peru State College