Adolescent Marriage and Cohabitation Expectations: A Focus on Participants in Relationship Education Programs

Deanna Trella, Bowling Green State University

The U.S. government has attempted to support marriage by providing financial and political resources for relationship initiatives, particularly those that target disadvantaged populations. There are few relationship programs that target adolescents. Programs that seek to improve the quality of adolescent relationships are pivotal. The goal of the current work is to evaluate the marriage and cohabitation expectations of adolescents in an effort to advance knowledge of the factors that influence transition to adult relationships, namely marriage beliefs, socioeconomic disadvantage, relationship status, relationship characteristics, parenthood status, demographic characteristics and peer influence. The life course perspective serves as the conceptual framework by highlighting the occurrence of romantic relationships during a pivotal period of growth. This work utilizes three data sets: (1) existing data from the relationship education program No Jerks, (2) new data from a pilot relationship program Relationship Smarts Plus, and (3) wave one findings from the Toledo Adolescent Relationship Study.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 73: Transition to Adulthood