Adolescent romantic relationships

Annu Rev Psychol. 2009;60:631-52. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163459.


In this article, we review theoretical and empirical advances in research on romantic relationships between age 10 and the early twenties. First, we describe key themes in this area of research. Next, we briefly characterize the most influential theoretical formulations and distinctive methodological issues. We then describe research findings regarding pertinent social and developmental processes. We summarize the extensive findings on relationships with parents and peers as a context for romantic relationships. Finally, we characterize the growing evidence that adolescent romantic relationships are significant for individual adjustment and development, and we note promising directions for further research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Child
  • Courtship / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Love*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Peer Group
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Research Design
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Social Adjustment
  • Young Adult