College students have enormous expectations for themselves. They strive to achieve certain grades, pursue a particular professional interest, acclimate to the college environment, adapt socially, and even engage in romantic relationships. The attitudes and beliefs a young adult has about his or her abilities to succeed in these areas can directly impact the outcome. It is believed that establishing and maintaining an intimate relationship is a core component of development, especially during young adulthood. Understanding what factors affect an individual’s approach to relationships can help clarify how social, familial, and peer input influences overall development.
Three specific domains that can guide marital and relationship attitudes include marriage messages received (MMR), relationship self-efficacy (RSE), and general marital attitude. RSE refers to one’s perception of how well he or she can maintain a productive and healthy relationship with another person, while MMRs refer to marital input and suggestions from peers, family members, media, religious groups, and other sources. In an effort to comprehend the relationship between these three domains, and how they relate to demographic factors in young adults, Matthew W. Shurts of the Department of Counseling and Educational Leadership at Montclair State University in New Jersey recently surveyed 211 college students. He asked them about their parents’ marital status, their current relationship status, MMR, RSE, and marital attitude.
Shurts found that the students who were currently romantically involved and had positive marital attitudes had higher levels of RSE than the other students. Also, Shurts discovered that the younger students and females had more positive attitudes related to marriage than older students and male students. This could be due in part to MMRs that older students receive from family, church, and society to be married by a certain age. Also, African-American students had more negative attitudes toward marriage than white students. Interestingly, being a child of divorce did not significantly impact students’ attitudes. “On the basis of our findings, it is evident that the three variables of interest involved in romantic relationships (i.e., MMR, marital attitudes, and RSE) are related to one another,” Shurts said. Future work is needed to gain insight into how attitudes evolve over time, as well as how sexual minority individuals’ relationship attitudes are shaped in the context of these three domains.
Shurts, Matthew W., and Jane E. Myers. Relationships among young adults’ marital messages received, marital attitudes, and relationship self-efficacy. Adultspan: Theory, Research & Practice 11.2 (2012): 97-111. Print.
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.