The diversity of romantic pathways during emerging adulthood and their developmental antecedents

Shmuel Shulman, Inge Seiffge-Krenke, Miri Scharf, Shira Bezalel Boiangiu, Valerya Tregubenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The present study examined patterns of romantic pathways in 100 Israeli emerging adults (54 males) who were followed from age 22 to 29 years. Analyses of interviews at age 29 yielded four distinctive romantic pathways differing in stability and ability to learn from romantic experiences: Sporadic, Lengthy Relationships but Absence of Experiential Learning, Moving from Casual to Steady Involvements, and Steady Relationships. Low efficacy, immature dependency, and level of maternal support measured 7 years earlier, predicted less optimal romantic pathways; Sporadic, and Lengthy relationships but absence of experiential learning. Distinctive gender pathways suggested that men are more likely to embark on a sporadic romantic pathway, while women tend more to prefer a stable romantic pathway. Findings of the study suggest that gender, intrapersonal capabilities, and maternal support can predict the pattern of the romantic pathway on which young people embark during their twenties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016.


The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by the Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) – Grant # 1016/05, The Ben Dov Chair in Youth Psychology and a DAAD fellowship given to Shmuel Shulman.

FundersFunder number
Israeli Science Foundation1016/05
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst


    • commitment
    • emerging adults
    • gender differences
    • intimate relationships
    • romantic pathways


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