Challenges in Charting the Course of Romantic Relationships in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

  • Frank D. FinchamEmail author
Part of the National Symposium on Family Issues book series (NSFI, volume 2)


The emergence of research on romantic relationships in adolescence and in emerging adulthood raises the question of how these relationships are similar/different across the two developmental periods. Giordano and colleagues (Chap. 9) provide useful information on this question. This commentary elaborates on the two contexts that inform their work, the prevalence of cohabitation, and casual sex. It is argued that contemporary romantic relationships lack the clear, universal progression of previous generations and data are provided to show that many contemporary relationships begin with a physical encounter or hook up. Several challenges in understanding romantic relationship development are also discussed. These include the need for dyadic research, the use of appropriate analytic tools to deal with interdependence in the data, and attention to the issue of measurement invariance to show that measures are functioning in the same way for males and females and across people in different phases of development.


Romantic Relationship Item Response Theory Partner Effect Friend With Benefit Friend With Benefit Relationship 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Family InstituteFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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