Competence in early adult romantic relationships: A developmental perspective on family influences

Rand D. Conger, Ming Cui, Chalandra M. Bryant, Glen H. Elder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

300 Scopus citations


The present prospective, longitudinal study of 193 young adults (85 men, 108 women, M = 20.7 years old) and their partners in ongoing romantic relationships in 1997 was initiated in 1989, when the 193 target youths were in the 7th grade. On the basis of the model for the development of early adult romantic relationships (DEARR; C. Bryant & R. D. Conger, in press), the authors hypothesized that interactional processes in the family of origin would predict interpersonal skills by the target youths, which would be positively related to the early adult couple's relationship quality. Observational ratings showed that nurturant-involved parenting in the family of origin predicted behaviors by the target youth to a romantic partner that were warm, supportive, and low in hostility. These competent behaviors of the target youth were positively associated with relationship quality for the early adult couple and also mediated or explained the connection between parenting and relationship quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-237
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes

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