Relationship Pathways: From Adolescence to Young Adulthood

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Edited by: Brett Laursen & W. Andrew Collins

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  • Dedication

    This book is dedicated to Duane Buhrmester (1952–2010).

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    Preface

    Adecade ago, we proposed a musical analogy to describe changes in close relationships across the second decade of life. We argued that relationship development during these years resembles a fugue (Collins & Laursen, 2000). A fugue is a musical composition characterized by distinct melodic themes that are elaborated successively and interwoven to create a single, well-defined structure. Close relationships across the years that span the transition into and out of adolescence follow an analogous pattern. Affiliations with friends, romantic partners, siblings, and parents unfold along varied and discrete trajectories for much of this time and then coalesce during the early 20s into integrated interpersonal structures.

    Our views are informed by two influential depictions of development. The first is Hartup's (1979) depiction of the emergence of unique social worlds during childhood. In this view, family and peer relationships are two social worlds that develop increasingly independent of one another as children spend more time out of the home and in school and other peer-dominated contexts. The second is Werner's (1957) thesis that development proceeds from a state of globality to a state of increasing differentiation and hierarchic differentiation.

    Relationships provide an essential context for human development. Social experiences are organized around relationships (Hartup & Laursen, 1999). We contend that close relationships are global and undifferenti-ated during the early years of life. Distinctions between family members first emerge as different patterns of interaction are established with mothers, fathers, and siblings that promote the acquisition of a diverse set of skills and abilities. The peer social world emerges from this context. Most early friendships are formed with playmates under the supervision of family members. Gradually, however, different principles come to govern exchanges with peers and those with family members, and the interactions in these relationships change accordingly (Laursen & Bukowski, 1997). By the end of childhood, families and peers occupy two distinct social worlds.

    Differentiation and articulation continue across adolescence. At the transition into adolescence, peer relationships are fairly global and undifferentiated. Children discriminate between friends and nonfriends, but convenience and propinquity have as much to do with these relationships as loyalty and intimacy. Relationship differentiation evolves as a new appreciation of social exchange and shared power alter the form and function of peer relationships (Laursen & Hartup, 2002). Experience and cognitive maturity create new relationship categories and expectations. Nuanced distinctions between peer dyads arise, as close friends are distinguished from other friends and acquaintances. Just as parents provide a base for children's first forays into the peer social world, friends provide a base for contact with potential romantic partners (Laursen, 1996). Eventually males and females establish a new form of peer relationship by altering friendship exchanges to incorporate the unique attributes of romantic interconnections (Laursen & Jensen-Campbell, 1999). Thus, peer groups beget friendships, which in turn beget romantic relationships.

    Mid- to late adolescence marks the high water point for relationship differentiation. Then the tide turns. Once these distinct relationship forms have been established, the next developmental task is to organize them into a coherent whole (Collins & Laursen, 2004). The transition from adolescence into young adulthood marks a gradual hierarchic integration in the form and function of close relationship processes. Just as distinct musical themes are integrated in the resolution of a fugue, the social worlds of friends and family merge into a unified social structure that incorporates important features of both relationship systems and that manifests communal properties.

    Research on adolescent relationships has rapidly expanded during the past decade. Keeping apace with research advances is a difficult challenge. Harder still is integrating the literature into a coherent whole. This volume is designed to guide the reader through the research on close relationships before, during, and after adolescence. We are fortunate that some of the world's foremost experts on adolescent relationships agreed to summarize what is known in their respective fields of expertise. The volume begins with a section on family relationships. Separate chapters are devoted to sibling relationships and parent–child relationships during the transition into adolescence and during the transition into young adulthood. The second and third sections concern peer relationships. Two chapters examine friendships during the transition into adolescence and during the transition into young adulthood. There are also chapters on peer networks, heterosexual romantic relationships, and same-sex romantic relationships. The last section focuses on developmental pathways and processes. This section defines relationships processes and describes individual and contextual factors that influence them. For ease of navigation, most of the chapters in the volume share a common outline: Conceptual and/or Theoretical Overview, Recent Empirical Advances and Future Directions.

    The volume is designed for scholars who study adolescent and young adult relationships. We use the term scholars advisedly. Students will profit from the comprehensive, rigorous, and accessible overview of key content areas. Investigators will want to hear about the latest developments in the field. To accomplish these aims, we've asked the contributors to summarize key findings in the field and to illustrate recent advances on the topic with findings from their own work. The result offers insight into the conceptual themes and empirical precedents that shape contemporary research by scholars who set the pace for the field of adolescent relationships. Our contributors hail from Canada, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, and the United States. Although geographically diverse, they share a commitment to empirical rigor and communication with others who are interested in youth. Both are apparent in this collection.

    A volume of this magnitude requires enormous effort from many parties. It has been a great privilege to collaborate once again with my mentor and friend, Andy Collins. Vicki Knight of Sage showed interest in our project when other publishers did not; she and Kalie Koscielak patiently shepherded the book through to completion. We are gratified by the cooperation we received from our colleagues; most who were invited to participate agreed to do so. Our contributors were a timely and responsive bunch. The field is in good hands. Many friends and collaborators shaped and supported our work over the years—too many to mention by name. We trust you know who you are. Our families merit special acknowledgment. Erika, Kirsten, and Erik, and Carolyn, Caroline, and Drew and Julie: We are thankful for your forbearance, wisdom, love, and support.

    We are appreciative of the comments and suggestions provided by the following reviewers:

    Lori S. Anderson, University of Wisconsin–Madison

    B. Bradford Brown, University of Wisconsin–Madison

    Antonius H. N. Cillessen, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

    Nancy Darling, PhD, Oberlin College

    Anna Beth Doyle, PhD, Concordia University

    Judy Garber, Vanderbilt University

    Cliff McKinney, Mississippi State University

    Rainer K. Silbereisen, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany

    As we set to the task of preparing our chapters, we were deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of one of the contributing authors. Duane Buhrmester and his wife, Linda, died in a mountain climbing accident in Colorado on July 27, 2010. A tribute to their lives can be found online at http://duaneandlindab.com/Duane_and_Linda_Buhrmester/Home.html. Duane, an expert on adolescent relationships with friends, siblings, and romantic partners, was a doctoral student of Wyndol Furman's at the University of Denver. After a brief stint at UCLA, he served as a professor for 20-plus years at the University of Texas at Dallas. His research was first rate; many of his publications enjoy enviable citation rates. He was particularly well-known for his work on interpersonal competence and need fulfillment in friendships; he also developed several questionnaires that are commonly used by other researchers. Duane was a fixture in the world of peer relationships. Preconferences devoted to the topic at the biennial meetings of the Society for Research on Child Development and the Society for Research on Adolescence invariably featured Duane in roles as chair, presenter, moderator, and commentator. He contributed frequently to discussions and his remarks were often entertainingly provocative. He was witty, smart, and charming. He was also a caring mentor and a dedicated professor, who always put students first. Duane Buhrmester enriched the lives of many, and his absence is keenly felt.

    Brett Laursen

    Fort Lauderdale

    January 2011

    References
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    Collins, W. A., & Laursen, B. (2004). Changing relationships, changing youth: Interpersonal contexts of adolescent development. Journal of Early Adolescence, 24, 55–62.
    Hartup, W. W. (1979). The social worlds of childhood. American Psychologist, 34, 944–950.
    Hartup, W W, & Laursen, B. (1999). Relationships as developmental contexts: Retrospective themes and contemporary issues. In W. A.Collins & B.Laursen (Eds.), The Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology: Vol. 30. Relationships as developmental contexts (pp. 13–35). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    Laursen, B. (1996). Closeness and conflict in adolescent peer relationships: Interdependence with friends and romantic partners. In W. M.BukowskiA. F.Newcomb & W. W.Hartup (Eds.), The company they keep: Friendships in childhood and adolescence (pp. 186–210). New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Laursen, B., & Bukowski, W. M. (1997). A developmental guide to the organisation of close relationships. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 21, 747–770.
    Laursen, B., & Hartup, W. W. (2002). The origins of reciprocity and social exchange in friendships. In B.Laursen & W. G.Graziano (Eds.), Social exchange in development: New Directions For Child and Adolescent Development (No. 95), 27–40.
    Laursen, B., & Jensen-Campbell, L. A. (1999). The nature and functions of social exchange in adolescent romantic relationships. In W.Furman, B. B.Brown & C.Feiring (Eds.), The development of romantic relationships in adolescence (pp. 50–74). New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Werner, H. (1957). The concept of development from a comparative and organismic point of view. In D. B.Harris (Ed.), The concept of development: An issue in the study of human behavior (pp. 125–148). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
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    Hill, J. P. (1988). Adapting to menarche: Family control and conflict. In M.Gunnar & W. A.Collins (Eds.), Development during the transition to adolescence (pp. 43–77). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    Hinde, R. (1997). Relationships: A dialectical perspective.Hove, England: Psychology Press.
    Huston, T., Niehuis, S., & Smith, S. E. (2001). The early marital roots of conjugal distress and divorce. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10(4), 116–119.
    Larsen, H., Branje, S., Van der Valk, I., & Meeus, W. (2007). Friendship quality as a moderator between perception of interparental conflicts and maladjustment in adolescence. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 31, 549–558.
    Laursen, B., & Bukowski, W. M. (1997). A developmental guide to the organization of close relationships. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 21, 747–770.
    Laursen, B., Coy, K. C., & Collins, W. A. (1998). Reconsidering changes in parent-child conflict across adolescence: A meta-analysis. Child Development, 69, 817–832.
    Laursen, B., & Williams, V. (1997). Perceptions of interdependence and closeness in family and peer relationships among adolescents with and without romantic partners. In S.Shulman & W. A.Collins (Eds.), Romantic relationships in adolescence: Developmental perspectives. New Directions for Child Development, 78, pp. 3–20.
    Masche, G. (2008). Reciprocal influences between developmental transitions and parent–child relationships in young adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 32(5), 401–411.
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    Nelson, L. J., Padilla-Walker, L. M., Christensen, K. J., Evans, C. A., & Carroll, J. S. (2011). Parenting in emerging adulthood: An examination of parenting clusters and correlates. Journal of Youth and Adolescence40(6), 730–743.
    Owens, G., Crowell, J., Pan, H., Treboux, D., O'Connor, E., & Waters, E. (1995). The prototype hypothesis and the origins of attachment working models: Adult relationships with parents and romantic partners. In E.Waters, B.Vaughn, G.Posada, & K.Kondo-Ikemura (Eds.), Caregiving, cultural, and cognitive perspectives on secure-base behavior and working models: New growing points of attachment theory and research. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 60(2–3, Serial No. 244), 216–233.
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    Roisman, G. I., Madsen, S. D., Hennighausen, K. H., Sroufe, L. A., & Collins, W. A. (2001). The coherence of dyadic behavior across parent–child and romantic relationships as mediated by the internalized representation of experience. Attachment & Human Development, 3(2), 156–172.
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    Simpson, J. A., Collins, W. A., Tran, S., & Haydon, K. C. (2007). Attachment and the experience and expression of emotions in romantic relationships: A developmental perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(2), 355–367.
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    About the Editors

    Brett Laursen is professor of psychology and director of Graduate Training at Florida Atlantic University. His research focuses on parent–child and peer relationships during childhood and adolescence and the influence of these relationships on individual social and academic adjustment. Dr. Laursen is a Docent Professor of Social Developmental Psychology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He is currently the Methods and Measures Editor at the International Journal of Behavioral Development. Dr. Laursen is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 7, Developmental) and a fellow and charter member of the Association for Psychological Science. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate from Örebro University, Sweden. Dr. Laursen has edited or coed-ited several books and monographs, the most recent being the Handbook of Develop mental Research Methods.

    W. Andrew Collins is a Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of Child Development and Psychology at the University of Minnesota. A graduate of Stanford University, Dr. Collins conducts research on parent and peer relationships and influences during adolescence and young adulthood. He is principal investigator of the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation, in which participants have been followed from birth to age 34. Currently editor of the Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, he is a fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. He served as president of the Society for Research on Adolescence from 2000 to 2002. Dr. Collins has edited or coedited several books and monographs and has contributed numerous book and handbook chapters, as well as articles in scholarly journals.

    List of Contributors

    Ibis Alvarez-Valdivia

    School of Psychology

    University of Ottawa

    Ottawa, Canada

    Timothy W. Boyd II

    Department of Psychology

    University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Greensboro, NC

    Susan Branje

    Research Centre Adolescent Development

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Utrecht University

    Utrecht, The Netherlands

    Duane Buhrmester

    School of Behavioral and Brain Science

    The University of Texas at Dallas

    Richardson, TX

    José M. Causadias

    Institute of Child Development

    University of Minnesota

    Minneapolis, MN

    Chong Man Chow

    School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

    The University of Texas at Dallas

    Richardson, TX

    W. Andrew Collins

    Institute of Child Development

    University of Minnesota

    Minneapolis, MN

    Kirby Deater-Deickard

    Department of Psychology

    Virginia Tech

    Blacksburg, VA

    Dawn DeLay

    Department of Psychology

    Florida Atlantic University

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Wyndol Furman

    Department of Psychology

    University of Denver

    Denver, CO

    Nancy L. Galambos

    Department of Psychology

    University of Alberta

    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

    Gary C. Glick

    Department of Psychological Sciences

    University of Missouri

    Columbia, MO

    Christopher A. Hafen

    Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning

    University of Virginia

    Charlottesville, VA

    Loes Keijsers

    Research Centre Adolescent Development

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Utrecht University

    Utrecht, The Netherlands

    Jan Kornelis Dijkstra

    University of Groningen

    Groningen, The Netherlands

    Lauren Kotylak

    Crescent Point Energy Corp

    Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Brett Laursen

    Department of Psychology

    Florida Atlantic University

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Matthew D. Lee

    School of Psychology

    University of Ottawa

    Ottawa, Canada

    Wim Meeus

    Research Centre Adolescent Development

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Utrecht University

    Utrecht, The Netherlands

    Joel A. Muraco

    Family Studies and Human Development

    University of Arizona

    Tucson, AZ

    K. Lee Raby

    Institute of Child Development

    University of Minnesota

    Minneapolis, MN

    Holly Roelse

    School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

    The University of Texas at Dallas

    Richardson, TX

    Amanda J. Rose

    Department of Psychological Sciences

    University of Missouri

    Columbia, MO

    Stephen T. Russell

    Family Studies and Human Development

    University of Arizona

    Tucson, AZ

    Barry H. Schneider

    School of Psychology

    University of Ottawa

    Ottawa, Canada

    Rebecca A. Schwartz-Mette

    Department of Psychological Sciences

    University of Missouri

    Columbia, MO

    Inge Seiffge-Krenke

    Psychologisches Institut

    Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität

    Mainz, Germany

    Lily Shanahan

    Department of Psychology

    University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Greensboro, NC

    Shmuel Shulman

    Department of Psychology

    Bar Ilan University

    Ramat Gan, Israel

    Rhiannon L. Smith

    Department of Psychological Sciences

    University of Missouri

    Columbia, MO

    Marion K. Underwood

    School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

    The University of Texas at Dallas

    Richardson, TX

    Muriel van Doorn

    Research Centre Adolescent Development

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Utrecht University

    Utrecht, The Netherlands

    René Veenstra

    University of Groningen

    Groningen, The Netherlands

    Evelyn B. Waite

    Department of Psychology

    University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Greensboro, NC

    Zhe Wang

    Department of Psychology

    Virginia Tech

    Blacksburg, VA

    Ryan J. Watson

    Family Studies and Human Development

    University of Arizona

    Tucson, AZ

    Jessica K. Winkles

    Department of Psychology

    University of Denver

    Denver, CO

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