Romantic relationship formation and the engagement in sexual behaviors are normative and salient developmental tasks for adolescents and young adults. These developmental tasks are increasingly viewed from an ecological perspective, thus as strongly embedded in different social contexts. This volume brings together seven recent empirical studies that investigated different aspects of adolescents’ and young adults’ romantic relationships and sexuality, and the linkages with various characteristics of relations with parents, peers, and partners. These studies were conducted in six Western countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the USA. Three studies examined the formation of young people’s romantic relationships, and the other four studies focused on youth’s developing sexuality. Together, they employed a diverse range of state-of-the-art research methods, including online questionnaires, computer-assisted interviews, daily diary assessments, and observations of dyadic interactions. In the editorial chapter, these recent advances in empirical research are discussed and framed within two important changes in the theoretical perspectives on young people’s emerging romantic relationships and sexual activity: from risky behaviors to normative tasks, and from individual to contextualized processes. Throughout this volume, important directions for future research are suggested, specifically focusing on how to better incorporate the interrelational perspective into empirical research on these topics, and how to further bridge the gap between the research fields on romantic relationships and sexuality.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the European Journal of Developmental Psychology.
1. Romantic relationships and sexuality in adolescence and young adulthood: The role of parents, peers, and partners 2. Adolescents’ relationships with mother and father and their links to the quality of romantic relationships: A classification approach 3. Gendered pathways to romantic attachment in emerging adults: The role of body image and parental support 4. Adolescents’ use of affiliative and aggressive strategies during conflict with romantic partners and best-friends 5. I get by with a little help from my friends: Examining the peer context of satisfaction with casual sexual relationships and experiences 6. Let’s talk openly about sex: Sexual communication, self-esteem and efficacy as correlates of sexual well-being 7. Parent and peer predictors of adolescents’ sexual development: Can parents buffer peer influence? 8. Project STARS (Studies on Trajectories of Adolescent Relationships and Sexuality): A longitudinal, multidomain study on sexual development of Dutch adolescents