Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

First Advisor

Wyndol Furman, Ph.D.


Romantic relationship predictors, Psychosocial adjustment, Internalizing symptoms


Previous work suggests that individuals who experience a poor quality romantic relationship during adolescence are at heightened risk of experiencing poor quality romantic relationships in adulthood. However, this literature has not yet identified factors that may predict which individuals will go on to experience improved romantic relationship quality in adulthood, despite having experienced a poor quality romantic relationship during adolescence. The goal of the current study was to examine whether adolescents' psychosocial adjustment (internalizing and externalizing symptoms, substance use, and self-esteem) predicted improvements in the quality of their subsequent romantic relationships. Data were drawn from a community sample of 200 individuals first recruited during adolescence and followed for more than 10 years. Analyses were run on two subsamples of adolescents. The first subsample was made up of adolescents who reported experiencing a poor quality initial romantic relationship during adolescence per positive indicators of relationship quality (i.e., support and satisfaction) and the second on those adolescents whose initial romantic relationship was poor quality per negative indicators (i.e., negative interactions). Multilevel models indicated that externalizing symptoms, substance use, and self-esteem did not significantly predict improvements in adult romantic relationship quality. Internalizing symptoms at the time of participants' first romantic relationships significantly predicted later improvements in relationship quality such that individuals in poor quality romantic relationships who had lower internalizing symptoms were more likely to experience improvements in relationship quality (i.e., relationship satisfaction and support) in adulthood compared to those with greater internalizing symptoms. Overall, adolescent romantic relationship quality was not significantly correlated with adult romantic relationship quality. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jamie Novak Shoop


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

75 p.


Clinical psychology