Journal of Adult Development

, 16:209

Friendship and Romantic Relationship Qualities in Emerging Adulthood: Differential Associations with Identity Development and Achieved Adulthood Criteria


    • Department of PsychologyLoyola College in Maryland
  • Stephanie D. Madsen
    • Department of PsychologyMcDaniel College
  • Larry J. Nelson
    • School of Family LifeBrigham Young University
  • Jason S. Carroll
    • School of Family LifeBrigham Young University
  • Sarah Badger
    • School of Family LifeBrigham Young University

DOI: 10.1007/s10804-009-9067-x

Cite this article as:
Barry, C.M., Madsen, S.D., Nelson, L.J. et al. J Adult Dev (2009) 16: 209. doi:10.1007/s10804-009-9067-x


This study examined how emerging adults’ identity development and achievement of adulthood criteria were related to qualities of their friendships and romantic relationships. Participants included 710 emerging adults (ages 18–26). Results indicated that identity achievement was related positively to four romantic relationship qualities, but not to any friendship qualities. Several achieved adulthood criteria were related positively to romantic relationship qualities; however, achieved adulthood criteria were related negatively to friendship qualities. It appears that progress on salient developmental tasks of adulthood carries important implications for emerging adults’ social relationships, but in ways that are more differentiated than commonly assumed.


Relationship qualityRomantic relationshipFriendshipIdentityAdulthood criteria

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009