Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 7, pp 1517–1530 | Cite as

Adolescents’ Daily Romantic Experiences and Negative Mood: A Dyadic, Intensive Longitudinal Study

  • Adam A. RogersEmail author
  • Thao Ha
  • Kimberly A. Updegraff
  • Masumi Iida
Empirical Research


Romantic relationships, although increasingly normative during adolescence, also present unique developmental challenges that can portend psychological difficulties. Underlying these difficulties may be the degree to which daily romantic transactions potentiate fluctuations in negative mood. The present study examined associations between adolescents’ daily romantic relationship experiences and their same-day negative affective states (i.e., fluctuations in high-arousal, aversive mood). Using a dyadic ecological momentary assessment (EMA) design, this study followed an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of 98 adolescent romantic couples twice weekly for 12 weeks (n = 196 individuals; Mage = 16.74 years, SD = 0.90; 45% Latina/o, 45% White; 55% receiving free or reduced meals). The results indicated that various daily romantic experiences (e.g., conflict, feelings about the relationship) predicted greater same-day negative affect. Beyond the effects of these romantic experiences, adolescent couples were also synchronized in their fluctuating negative affective states, evidencing the presence of emotional contagion. Overall, the findings indicate the salience of romantic relationships in the everyday lives of adolescents.


Romantic relationships Adolescents Negative affect Negative mood Ecological momentary assessment 



Support for this research was provided by the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics as part of the Lives of Teens Enterprise, and from the REACH Institute at Arizona State University to T. Ha. We greatly appreciate the efforts of the principals and staff in facilitating data collection.

Authors’ Contributions

A.R. conceived of the study, performed the statistical analyses and interpretation of the data, and led the writing of the manuscript. T.H. oversaw implementation and administration of the larger study from which the data are drawn and contributed to the conceptualization and writing of the study. K.U. assisted in the conceptualization of the study and interpretation of findings, and reviewed drafts. M.I. assisted in statistical analyses and reviewed drafts. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This research was supported by the T. Denny Sanford Foundation and the Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University.

Data Sharing Declaration

This manuscript’s data will not be deposited.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures involving human participants were performed in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethnical standards.

Informed Consent

All adolescents in the study assented to participation; consent was obtained from each participants’ primary caregiver.


  1. Anderson, C., Keltner, D., & John, O. P. (2003). Emotional convergence between people over time. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(5), 1054–1068. Scholar
  2. Auerbach, R. P., Bigda-Peyton, J. S., Eberhart, N. K., Webb, C. A., & Ho, M. H. R. (2011). Conceptualizing the prospective relationship between social support, stress, and depressive symptoms among adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39(4), 475–487. Scholar
  3. Birkeland, M. S., Breivik, K., & Wold, B. (2014). Peer acceptance protects global self-esteem from negative effects of low closeness to parents during adolescence and early adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(1), 70–80. Scholar
  4. Bolger, N., DeLongis, A., Kessler, R. C., & Wethington, E. (1989). The contagion of stress across multiple roles. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51(1), 175–183. Scholar
  5. Brent, D. A., Perper, J. A., Moritz, G., Baugher, M., Roth, C., Balach, L., & Schweers, J. (1993). Stressful life events, psychopathology, and adolescent suicide: A case control study. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 23(3), 179–187. Scholar
  6. Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. A. (2006). The bioecological model of human development. Handbook of child psychology. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.), Handbook of child development: Vol. 1. Theoretical models of human development (6th edn., pp. 793–828). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  7. Burk, W., & Laursen, B. (2005). Adolescent perceptions of friendship and their associations with individual adjustment. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 29(2), 156–164. Scholar
  8. Butler, E. A., & Randall, A. K. (2013). Emotional co-regulation in close relationshps. Emotion Review, 5(2), 202–210. Scholar
  9. Butner, J., Diamond, L. M., & Hicks, A. M. (2007). Attachment style and two forms of affect coregulation between romantic partners. Personal Relationships, 14(3), 431–455. Scholar
  10. Carver, K., Joyner, K., & Udry, J. R. (2003). National estimates of adolescent romantic relationships. In P. Florsheim (Ed.), Adolescent romantic relationships and sexual behavior: Theory, research, and practical implications. (pp. 291–329). New York, NY: Cambridge University.Google Scholar
  11. Collibee, C., & Furman, W. (2015). Quality counts: Developmental shifts in associations between romantic relationship qualities and psychosocial adjustment. Child Development, 86(5), 1639–1652. Scholar
  12. Collins, W. A., Welsh, D. P., & Furman, W. (2009). Adolescent romantic relationships. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 631–652. Scholar
  13. Conger, R. D., Conger, K. J., & Martin, M. J. (2010). Socioeconomic status, family process, and individual development. Journal of Marriage and Family, 27(3), 685–704. Scholar
  14. Connolly, J., Craig, W., Goldberg, A., & Pepler, D. (1999). Conceptions of cross-sex friendships and romantic relationships in early adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 28(4), 481–494. Scholar
  15. Connolly, J., & McIsaac, C. (2009). Adolescents’ explanations for romantic dissolutions: A developmental perspective. Journal of Adolescence, 32(5), 1209–1223. Scholar
  16. Connolly, J., & McIsaac, C. (2011). Romantic relationships in adolescence. In M. K. Underwood, & L. H. Rosen (Eds.), Social development: Relationships in infancy, childhood, and adolescence. (pp. 180–206). New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
  17. Connolly, J., McIsaac, C., Shulman, S., Wincentak, K., Joly, L., Heifetz, M., & Bravo, V. (2014). Development of romantic relationships in adolescence and emerging adulthood: Implications for community mental health. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 33(1), 7–19. Scholar
  18. Crawford, J. R., & Henry, J. D. (2004). The positive and negative affect schedule (PANAS): Construct validity, measurement properties and normative data in a large non-clinical sample. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43(3), 245–265. Scholar
  19. Curran, P. J., & Bauer, D. J. (2011). The disaggregation of within-person and between-person effects in longitudinal models of change. Annual Review of Psychology, 62, 583–619. Scholar
  20. Davila, J. (2008). Depressive symptoms and adolescent romance: Theory, research, and implications. Child Development Perspectives, 2(1), 26–31. Scholar
  21. Davila, J., Steinberg, S. J., Kachadourian, L., Cobb, R., & Fincham, F. (2004). Romantic involvement and depressive symptoms in early and late adolescence: The role of a preoccupied relational style. Personal Relationships, 11(2), 161–178. Scholar
  22. Davila, J., Stroud, C. B., Starr, L. R., Miller, M. R., Yoneda, A., & Hershenberg, R. (2009). Romantic and sexual activities, parent–adolescent stress, and depressive symptoms among early adolescent girls. Journal of Adolescence, 32(4), 909–924. Scholar
  23. Diamond, L. M., Savin-Williams, R. C., & Dubé, E. M. (1999). Sex, dating, passionate friendships, and romance: Intimate peer relations among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents. In W. Furman, B. Brown, & C. Feiring (Eds.), The development of romantic relationships in adolescence (pp. 175–210). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Elder, G. H. (1998). The life course as developmental theory. Child Development, 69(1), 1–12. Scholar
  25. Enders, C. K. (2010). Applied missing data analysis. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  26. Fleming, C. B., White, H. R., Oesterle, S., Haggerty, K. P., & Catalano, R. F. (2010). Romantic relationship status changes and substance use among 18- to 20-year olds. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 71, 847–856.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. Frost, A., Hoyt, L. T., Chung, A. L., & Adam, E. K. (2015). Daily life with depressive symptoms: Gender differences in adolescents’ everyday emotional experiences. Journal of Adolescence, 43, 132–141. Scholar
  28. Furman, W., Ho, M., & Low, S. (2008). The rocky road of adolescent romantic experience: Dating and adjustment. In R. Engles, M. Kerr & H. Stattin (Eds.), Friends, lovers, and groups: Key relationships in adolescence (pp. 61–80). New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  29. Furman, W., & Shoemaker, L. B. (2008). Patterns of interaction in adolescent romantic relationships: Distinct features and links to other close relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 31(6), 771–788. Scholar
  30. Furman, W., McDunn, C., & Young, B. J. (2008). The role of peer and romantic relationships in adolescent affective development. In N. Allen, & Sheeber (Eds.), Adolescent emotional development and the emergence of depressive disorders. NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Gottman, J. M. (1993). The roles of conflict engagement, escalation, and avoidance in marital interactions: A longitudinal view of five types of couples. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61, 6–15. Scholar
  32. Ha, T., Dishion, T. J., Overbeek, G., Burk, W. J., & Engels, R. C. (2014). The blues of adolescent romance: Observed affective interactions in adolescent romantic relationships associated with depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42(4), 551–562.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Ha, T., Overbeek, G., Cillessen, A. H., & Engels, R. C. (2012). A longitudinal study of the associations among adolescent conflict resolution styles, depressive symptoms, and romantic relationship longevity. Journal of Adolescence, 35(5), 1247–1254.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Ha, T., Overbeek, G., Lichtwarck-Aschoff, A., & Engels, R. C. (2013). Do conflict resolution and recovery predict the survival of adolescents’ romantic relationships? Plosad- ONE, 8(4), e61871.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ha, T., Yeung, E. W., Rogers, A. A., Poulsen, F. O., Kornienko, O., & Granger, D. A. (2016). Supportive behaviors in adolescent romantic relationships moderate adrenocortical attunement. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 74, 189–196. Scholar
  36. Harter, S., & Buddin, B. J. (1987). Children’s understanding of the simultaneity of two emotions: A five stage developmental acquisition sequence. Developmental Psychology, 23(3), 388–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional contagion. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Johnson, W. L., Giordano, P. C., Manning, W. D., & Longmore, M. A. (2015). The age–IPV curve: Changes in the perpetration of intimate partner violence during adolescence and young adulthood. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(3), 708–726. Scholar
  39. Joyner, K., & Udry, J. R. (2000). You don’t bring me anything but down: Adolescent romance and depression. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 369–391.
  40. Kapungu, C. T., Baptiste, D., Holmbeck, G., McBride, C., Robinson-Brown, M., Sturdivant, A., Crown, L., & Paikoff, R. (2010). Beyond the “birds and the bees”: Gender differences in sex-related communication among urban African-American adolescents. Family Process, 49(2), 251–264. Scholar
  41. Kenny, D. A., Kashy, D. A., & Cook, W. L. (2006). Dyadic data analysis. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  42. Larson, R. W., & Almeida, D. M. (1999). Emotional transmission in the daily lives of families: A new paradigm for studying family process. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61(1), 5–20. Scholar
  43. Larson, R. W., Clore, G. L., & Wood, G. A. (1999). The emotions of romantic relationships: Do they wreak havoc on adolescents? Intimate peer relations among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents. In W. Furman, B. Brown, & C. Feiring, (Eds.), The development of romantic relationships in adolescence. (pp. 175–210). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Larson, R. W., & Gillman, S. (1999). Transmission of emotions in the daily interactions of single-mother families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 21–37.
  45. Larson, R. W., & Richards, M. H. (1994). Family emotions: Do young adolescents and their parents experience the same states? Journal of Research on Adolescence, 4(4), 567–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Laurenceau, J. P., & Bolger, N. (2005). Using diary methods to study marital and family processes. Journal of Family Psychology, 19(1), 86–97. Scholar
  47. Laursen, B., Finkelstein, B. D., & Betts, N. T. (2001). A developmental meta-analysis of peer conflict resolution. Developmental Review, 21(4), 423–449. Scholar
  48. Laursen, B., & Hafen, C. A. (2010). Future directions in the study of close relationships: Conflict is bad (except when it’s not). Social Development, 19(4), 858–872. Scholar
  49. Laurent, H. K., Kim, H. K., & Capaldi, D. M. (2009). Longitudinal effects of conflict behaviors on depressive symptoms in young couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(4), 596–605. Scholar
  50. Little, T. D. (2013). Longitudinal structural equation modeling. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  51. Maccoby, E. E. (1990). Gender and relationships: A developmental account. American Psychologist, 45(4), 513–520. Scholar
  52. Mather, M., & Dupuis, G. (2012). Rising share of U.S. children living in high-poverty neighborhoods.
  53. McIsaac, C., Connolly, J., McKenney, K. S., Pepler, D., & Craig, W. (2008). Conflict negotiation and autonomy processes in adolescent romantic relationships: An observational study of interdependency in boyfriend and girlfriend effects. Journal of Adolescence, 31(6), 691–707. Scholar
  54. Mirsu-Paun, A., & Oliver, J. A. (2017). How much does love really hurt? A meta-analysis of the association between romantic relationship quality, breakups, and mental health outcomes in adolescents and young adults. Journal of Relationships Research, 8, 1–12. Scholar
  55. Moed, A., Gershoff, E. T., Eisenberg, N., Hofer, C., Losoya, S., Spinrad, T. L., & Liew, J. (2015). Parent–adolescent conflict as sequences of reciprocal negative emotion: Links with conflict resolution and adolescents’ behavior problems. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(8), 1607–1622. Scholar
  56. Monroe, S. M., Rohde, P., Seeley, J. R., & Lewinsohn, P. M. (1999). Life events and depression in adolescence: Relationship loss as a prospective risk factor for first onset of major depressive disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108(4), 606–614. Scholar
  57. Nannis, E. D., & Cowan, P. A. (1987). Emotional understanding: A matter of age, dimension, and point of view. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 8, 289–304. Scholar
  58. Perilloux, C., Fleischman, D. S., & Buss, D. M. (2008). The daughter-guarding hypothesis: Parental influence on, and emotional reactions to, offspring’s mating behavior. Evolutionary Psychology, 6(2), 217–233. Scholar
  59. Peugh, J. L. (2010). A practical guide to multilevel modeling. Journal of School Psychology, 48(1), 85–112. Scholar
  60. Raudenbush, S. W., & Byrk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. (2nd ed.), Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  61. Repetti, R. L., & Wood, J.(1997). Effects of daily stress at work on mothers’ interactions with preschoolers. Journal of Family Psychology, 11, 90–108. Scholar
  62. Rote, W. M., & Smetana, J. G. (2015). Beliefs about parents’ right to know: Domain differences and associations with change in concealment. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 26(2), 334–344. Scholar
  63. Roth, M. A., & Parker, J. G. (2001). Navigating the minefields of adolescent social triangles: Adolescents’ reactions to their friends’ friends and romantic partners. In biennial meetings of the Society for Research on Child Development, Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  64. Russell, S. T., Franz, B. T., & Driscoll, A. K. (2001). Same-sex romantic attraction and experiences of violence in adolescence. American Journal of Public Health, 91(6), 903–906. Scholar
  65. Saxbe, D., & Repetti, R. L. (2010). For better or worse? Coregulation of couples’ cortisol levels and mood states. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(1), 92–103. Scholar
  66. Schoebi, D. (2008). The coregulation of daily affect in marital relationships. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(4), 595–604. Scholar
  67. Semega, J. L., Fontenot, K. R., & Kollar, M. A. (2017). U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2016, Washington, DC, P60–259.Google Scholar
  68. Spear, L. P. (2009). Heightened stress responsivity and emotional reactivity during pubertal maturation: Implications for psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 21(1), 87–97. Scholar
  69. Shulman, S., & Connolly, J. (2013). The challenge of romantic relationships in emerging adulthood: Reconceptualization of the field. Emerging Adulthood, 1, 27–39. 6812467330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Shulman, S., Tuval-Mashiach, R., Levran, E., & Anbar, S. (2006). Conflict resolution patterns and longevity of adolescent romantic couples: A 2-year follow-up study. Journal of Adolescence, 29(4), 575–588. Scholar
  71. Starr, L. R., & Davila, J. (2008). Differentiating interpersonal correlates of depressive symptoms and social anxiety in adolescence: Implications for models of comorbidity. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 37(2), 337–349. Scholar
  72. Steinberg, S. J., & Davila, J. (2008). Romantic functioning and depressive symptoms among early adolescent girls: The moderating role of parental emotional availability. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 37(2), 350–362. Scholar
  73. Szwedo, D. E., Chango, J. M., & Allen, J. P. (2015). Adolescent romance and depressive symptoms: The moderating effects of positive coping and perceived friendship competence. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescence Psychology, 44(4), 53–550. Scholar
  74. Udry, J. R., & Chantala, K. (2002). Risk assessment of adolescents with same-sex relationships. Journal of Adolescent Health, 31(1), 84–92. Scholar
  75. Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063–1070. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam A. Rogers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thao Ha
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kimberly A. Updegraff
    • 4
  • Masumi Iida
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Family LifeBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  3. 3.REACH Institute, Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  4. 4.T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family DynamicsArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations