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J Adolesc. 2001 Jun;24(3):365-77.

The interpersonal context of romantic autonomy in adolescence.

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Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada.


This study explored the interpersonal context of romantic autonomy in mid adolescence by examining within-relationship links with romantic intimacy and affiliation, links across relationships with mothers and friends, and individual differences due to age and gender. Two hundred and thirty adolescents in grades 9, 10 and 11 with a current romantic partner, completed self-report questionnaires assessing their relationships. The results indicated that romantic autonomy was positively linked to romantic intimacy and affiliation, although this link differed according to the duration of the romantic relationship. The results also indicated that romantic autonomy was higher among girls than boys. Finally, romantic autonomy was uniquely linked to intimacy and autonomy in both maternal and friend relationships. Overall, this study highlights the interconnection of intimacy and autonomy in romantic relationships and the interconnections across relationships.

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