Adolescent precursors of romantic relationships in young adulthood

Inge Seiffge-Krenke, Shmuel Shulman, Nicolai Klessinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


In a six-year longitudinal study, the early contributors to romantic relationships in young adults were analyzed. Seventy-two adolescents participated annually in a survey assessing their relationships with parents and close friends at the ages of 14, 15, and 17 years. In addition, developmental progression in establishing a separate identity and developing a mature body concept was assessed. At the age of 20, the sample was again investigated with a focus on its current quality of romantic relations, assessed by the Love Experience Questionnaire (LEQ). Factor analysis of the LEQ revealed three distinctive components of romantic love in young adults: connectedness, attraction, and painful love. A series of multiple regression analyses explored the different contributions of predictors from the adolescent years for explaining variance in romantic relations at young adulthood. Results showed age-specific predictors for two different components of romantic relations, connectedness and attraction, including marital status of the parents, the quality of relationships with parents, and a sense of body competence at different stages of adolescence. Regarding painful love, only body competence at age 14 contributed significantly to this component ot romantic love at age 20. The pressure to establish a separate identity was only predictive of the attraction component of romantic love, whereas the quality of relationships with friends did not contribute to connectedness or to attraction or painful love in romantic relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-346
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


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