Romantic relationships in adolescence: The role of friends and peers in their emergence and development

Jennifer Connolly, Adele Goldberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

106 Scopus citations


The romantic preoccupations of adolescent youth – meeting potential partners, negotiating new situations, and learning the norms and nuances of love relationships – are central to the social activities of North American youth. In this new venture, adolescents find that it is their peers who are most willing to share in their desire to sort through the subtleties that characterize dating, love, and romance. Not only do friends act as a major conduit for romantic relationships, they typically are the romantic partners! In view of this overlap, the goal of this chapter is to explore the linkages between adolescents' romantic relationships and those with their peers. We focus particularly on development in early adolescence since the emergence of romantic relationships is characteristic of this time. In adolescence, peer relationships undergo substantial differentiation, as the distinction between dyads and groups becomes increasingly important. Adolescents' peer relationships include small cliques of close friends and larger peer networks, as well as one-on-one friendships (Blyth, Hill, & Thiel, 1982). Whether peer relationships are dyadic or group-based likely shapes their links with romantic relationships, and we will attend to these differences in this chapter. We also recognize that children can be more or less successful in their peer relationships (Parker & Asher, 1987).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Development of Romantic Relationships in Adolescence
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781316182185
ISBN (Print)9780521591560
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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