Adolescents’ Daily Romantic Experiences and Negative Mood: A Dyadic, Intensive Longitudinal Study
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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.
KeywordsRomantic 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.
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.
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.
All adolescents in the study assented to participation; consent was obtained from each participants’ primary caregiver.
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