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Developmental Shifts in the Character of Romantic and Sexual Relationships from Adolescence to Young Adulthood

  • Peggy C. GiordanoEmail author
  • Wendy D. Manning
  • Monica A. Longmore
  • Christine M. Flanigan
Chapter
Part of the National Symposium on Family Issues book series (NSFI, volume 2)

Abstract

This chapter examines ways in which the qualities and dynamics of respondents’ romantic relationships change from adolescence into adulthood and also explores the ways in which gender influences the character of romantic experiences during this period. We present findings from the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (TARS), a longitudinal study of 1,321 respondents who were interviewed four times, first in adolescence and subsequently as they have navigated the transition to adulthood. A review of other recent TARS findings are included, providing a more comprehensive portrait of the fluidity and range of romantic and sexual relationship experiences that characterize this phase of the life course. For example, we examine the phenomena of breaking up and getting back together and having sex with ex-boyfriends/girlfriends – dynamics that are quite common, but that highlight some of the difficulties of establishing the boundaries of what constitutes a dating relationship. In addition, while young adulthood is generally understood as a time when romantic attachments take on greater weight/significance, this period is associated with increased likelihood of casual sex experiences. Thus, we also include a review of findings about the trajectories of casual sex and factors associated with variability in casual sexual experiences.

Keywords

Romantic Relationship Relationship Quality Romantic Partner Instrumental Support Growth Curve Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peggy C. Giordano
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wendy D. Manning
    • 1
  • Monica A. Longmore
    • 1
  • Christine M. Flanigan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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