PSYCH 210- CHP 12- Socioemotional Development in Early Adulthood

romantic partners fulfill some of the same needs for adults as parents do for their children -recall from chp 4 that securely attached infants are defined as those who use the caregiver as a secure base from which to explore the environment.

SIMILARLY- adults may count on their romantic partners to be a secure base to which they can return and obtain comfort and security in stressful times

Adults attachment can be categorized as:

1) secure2) avoidant 3) anxious

1) Securely Attachment style

hv positive view of relationships-find it easy to get close to others -are not overly concerned with or stressed out about their romantic relationships -tend to enjoy sexuality in the context of a committed relationship -are less likely than others to hv a one night stance

2) Avoidant attachment style

are hesitant about getting involved in romantic relationships -once they are in a relationship, they tend to distance themselves from their partner

3) Anxious attachment style

demand closeness -are less trusting-and are more emotional, jealous, and possessive

-Adults with avoidant and anxious attachment patterns had lower levels of sexual satisfaction than a secure attachment pattern

-anxiously attached adults were more ambivalent about relationship commitment than their securely attached counterpart

-individuals with an avoidant attachment style were less resistant to the temptations of infidelity, which was linked to their lower level of relationship commitment

-attachment-anxious and attachment-avoidant adults had higher levels of depressive and anxious symptoms than attachment-secure adults

national survey taken- insecure attachment in adults was associated with the development of disease and chronic illness, especially cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke



refers to a vast and comples territory of human behavior, spanning a range of relationships tht includes friendship, romantic love, affectionate love, and consummate love -most of these types of love, one recurring theme is intimacy


self-disclosure and the sharing of private thoughts are hallmarks of intimacy -adolescents hv an increased need for intimacy -Juggling the demands of intimacy, identity, and independence also becomes a central task of adulthood

Erikson's stage: Intimacy vs. Isolation (early adulthood)

Erikson describes intimacy as finding oneself while losing oneself in another person, and it requires a commitment to another person

The balance between intimacy and commitment-and independence and freedom-is delicate

-Some individuals are able to experience a healthy independence and freedom along with an intimate relationship


-gender differences in adult friendships -compared with men, women have more close friends and their friendships involve more self-disclosure and exchange of mutual support -women are more likely to listen at length to what their friends say and be sympathetic -women have been labeled "talking companions" because talk is so central to their relationships

Romantic love

also called passionate love or eros-romantic love has strong components of sexuality and infatuation, and as well-known love researcher Ellen Berscheid- has found it often predominates in the early part of a love relationship

Affectionate love

also called compassionate love-type of love that occurs when someone desires to hv the other person near and has a deep, caring affection for the other person

Sternberg proposed a triarchic theory of love in which love can be thought of as a triangle with 3 main dimensions-passion, intimacy, and commitment.

Passion-involves physical and sexual attraction to anotherIntimacy- relates to the emotional feelings of warmth, closeness and sharing in a relationship Commitment- the cognitive appraisal of the relationship and the intent to maintain the relationship even in the face of problems

Consummate love

in sternberg's theory, the strongest, fullest form of love-involves all 3 dimensions


if passion is the only ingredient in a relationship (with intimacy and commitment low or absent)

Affectionate love

a relationship marked by intimacy and commitment but low or lacking in passion

Fatuous love

when a person worships another from a distance

Single Adults

recent decades hv seen a dramatic rise in percentage of single adults -data from 2009 indicate tht for the first time in history the proportion of individuals 25 to 34 yrs of age who hv never been married (46%) exceeded those who were married (45%)

national survey of 5,000 single adults 21 yrs and older not in a committed relationship revealed that men are more interested in love, marriage, and children than their counterparts were in earlier generations

-more women than men reported wanting to pursue their own interests, hv personal space, have their own bank account, hv regular nights out with friends, and take vacation on their own


refers to living together in a sexual relationship without being married

cohabitation relationships characterized by:

more commitment, lower satisfaction, more negative communication, and more physical aggression than dating

the majority of studies have found lower rates of marital satisfaction and higher rates of divorce in couples who lived together before getting married

however, recent research indicated that the link between marital cohabitation and marital instability in first marriages has weakened in recent cohorts


marriage rates in U.S hv declined -from 2007 to 2010-marriage rate continued to drop-in 2010, 51% of americans were married, down from 72& in 1960 -more adults are remaining single longer with 27% of adults currently hving never been married

Avg. age in U.S for a first marriage climbed to 28.7 yrs for men and 26.5 yrs for women, higher than at any other point in history

in 1980, avg age for first marriage was 24 yrs for men and 21 yrs for women -the increase in cohabitation and a slight decline in the percentage of divorced individuals who remarry contribute to the decline in marriage rates in the U.S


likely to feel less physically and emotionally stressed, which puts less wear and tear on a persons body-such wear and tear could lead to physical ailments such as high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as psychological problems such as anxiety, depression and substance abuse

Factors associated with increases in divorce

-youthful marriage-low educational level-low income-not hving religious affiliation-hving parents who are divorced-hving a baby before marriage

certain characteristics of ones partner increase in the likelihood of divorce:

-alcoholism-psychological problems-domestic violence-infidelity-inadequate division of household labor

researchers hv NOT been able to pin point a specific age tht is the best time to get married so tht the marriage is unlikely to end in divorce

however, if a divorce were to occur it would take place early in a marriage- most occur in the 5th to 10th yrs of marriage


-adults who remarry usually do so rather quickly, with approx. 50% remarrying within 3 yrs after they initially divorce -Men remarry sooner than women -Men with higher incomes are more likely to remarry than their counterparts with lower incomes


legal and social context of marriage creates barriers to breaking up than do not usually exist for same-sex partners -researchers hv found that gay and lesbian relationships are similar- in their satisfaction, loves, joys, and conflicts-to heterosexual relationships

researchers found that gay and lesbian couples prefer long-term, committed relationships

About half of GAY couples DO hv an open relationship that allows the possibility of sex (but not affectionate love) outside of the relationship.-lesbian couples usually do not hv an open relationship

MAKING MARRIAGE WORK: Gottman's principles of determining if a marriage will work

1) Establishing love maps2) Nurturing fondness and admiration3) Turning toward each other instead of away 4) letting your partner influence you5) Creating shared meaning


-age at which individuals hv children has been increasing -in 2008, avg age at which women gave birth for the first time was 25, up from 21 yrs of age in 2001 -birth control allows women to choose when they want to hv a baby and how many children they will rear -the # of one-child families hv been increasing- U.S women overall are hving fewer children

Advantages of hving children early (twenties):

1) parents are more likely to hv more physical energy 2) mother is likely to hv fewer medical problems with pregnancy and childbirth 3) parents may be less likely to build up expectations for their children

Advantages of hving children later (thirties):


If a marriage doesn't work, what happens after divorce?

Psychologically, one of most common characteristics of divorced adults is difficulty trusting someone else in a romantic relationship

Rapport Talk


Report Talk