Relational Contexts of Women’s Stress and Competence During the Transition to Adulthood

Abstract

To better understand the developmental contexts of mixed affect generated by the transition to adulthood, this study examined the relational correlates of self-reported stress and competence regarding the transition to adulthood. A sample of 223 college women reported on perceptions of parents, friends, and peers, as well as stress about taking on adult responsibilities (transition stress) and perceived competence regarding progress toward becoming an adult (transition competence). Results indicated distinctive relational correlates for transition stress versus competence. Transition stress was associated positively with over-involved parenting, parental attachment anxiety, and feeling behind peers in becoming an adult but not friendship quality, whereas transition competence was associated positively with friendship quality and feeling ahead of peers in becoming an adult but not parenting measures. Analyses controlled for internalizing distress, age, ethnicity, and family income. Results highlight the distinctive provisions afforded by close relationships for two key aspects of psychological experience during the process of becoming an adult.

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Correspondence to Katherine C. Haydon.

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Haydon, K.C. Relational Contexts of Women’s Stress and Competence During the Transition to Adulthood. J Adult Dev 22, 112–123 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-014-9205-y

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Keywords

  • Close relationships
  • Stress
  • Competence
  • Emerging adulthood