The Same Old Song?—Stability and Change in Relationship Schemas From Adolescence to Young Adulthood

Citation:

Waldinger, R. J., Diguer, L., Guastella, F., Lefebvre, R., Allen, J. P., Luborsky, L., & Hauser, S. T. (2002). The Same Old Song?—Stability and Change in Relationship Schemas From Adolescence to Young Adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence , 31 (1), 17-29.

Abstract:

Relationship schemas are core elements of personality that guide interpersonal functioning. The aim of this study is to examine stability and change in relationship schemas across two developmental epochs—adolescence and young adulthood—in the stories that people tell about their interactions with others. Using the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme Method, relationship themes were coded from semistructured interviews conducted in adolescence and again at age 25. The sample consisted of 40 participants in a longitudinal study of adolescent and young adult psychological development. There was considerable stability in the frequency with which particular themes were expressed in the narratives of adolescents and young adults. Significant changes from adolescence to young adulthood included a decrease in the perception of others as rejecting and of the self as opposing others. Young adults saw themselves and others more positively, and used a broader repertoire of themes in their relationship narratives than they had as adolescents. The basic continuity and particular changes in relationship schemas found in this study are consistent with knowledge about the adolescent-to-young-adult transition derived from other empirical and clinical findings. Relationship schemas may be rich units of study for learning about the development of interpersonal functioning.

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