Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Mounts, Nina S.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Adolescent dating behaviors are associated with romantic behaviors in adulthood. The Development of Early Adolescent Romantic Relationships model proposes that indirect parenting behaviors are associated with the development of adolescent romantic competencies. Other evidence has started to accumulate suggesting that direct parenting practices also influence the development of adolescent romantic competencies. The current study used structural equation modeling to examine the relationship between adolescents’ attachment orientations, parents’ romantic behaviors, and direct parenting practices and adolescents’ romantic competence (i.e., love, conflict, and poor problem solving). Additionally, adolescents’ ethnic group identity (i.e., Latino or non-Latino) was considered as a moderator of these relationships using a multiple group analysis. Participants included 154 students from a rural high school in the Midwest who completed measures of their own romantic competencies, their parents’ romantic behaviors, their attachment orientation, and their parents’ management of adolescents’ romantic relationships. This investigation found preliminary evidence of an association between parental consulting and adolescents’ romantic competence, suggesting that direct parenting practices should be considered further as a predictor of adolescents’ romantic development. There were no main or interaction relationships between parents’ romantic behaviors or adolescents’ attachment orientation on romantic competence. For Latino adolescents, endorsement of more traditional Mexican-American values was associated with parents’ greater use of prohibiting. Implications and future directions based on the findings are discussed.


184 pages




Northern Illinois University

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