Journal of Adult Development

, 16:209

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

  • Carolyn McNamara Barry
  • Stephanie D. Madsen
  • Larry J. Nelson
  • Jason S. Carroll
  • Sarah Badger


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 quality Romantic relationship Friendship Identity Adulthood criteria 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn McNamara Barry
    • 1
  • Stephanie D. Madsen
    • 2
  • Larry J. Nelson
    • 3
  • Jason S. Carroll
    • 3
  • Sarah Badger
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLoyola College in MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyMcDaniel CollegeWestminsterUSA
  3. 3.School of Family LifeBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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