Exploring Risk Behaviors in Adolescents’ and Young Adults’ Romantic Relationships

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Psychology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2024 | Viewed by 2037

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 20123 Milan, Italy
Interests: body identity; affectivity and sexuality in adolescents; parenting styles; school well-being

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 20123 Milan, Italy
Interests: adolescents; romantic relationships; romantic competence; dating violence; sexting; parenting style; youth

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Romantic relationships are a hallmark of adolescence and young adulthood. Research widely showed associations between high-quality romantic relationships and multiple aspects of individual development and well-being, such as: construction of personal identity, higher self-esteem and self-confidence, improvements in interpersonal relationships and development of sexuality. In order to build healthy and high-quality romantic relationships, the literature has highlighted the importance of being romantically competent. This makes subjects able to face adaptively the challenges connected to the romantic experience, improving adjustment skills.

Besides these functional aspects, romantic relationships may be characterized by dysfunctional experiences and risks.

Risk within romantic relationships may take the shape of behaviors (e.g., dating violence, cyber-aggression, risky sexual behaviors, pressured sexting, etc.) and outcomes that may be the direct consequences of these behaviors or aspects related to the dating experience (e.g., internalizing symptoms of depression and anxiety).

Within this framework, it is important to consider the influence that social networks may have for relationships’ development and maintenance as a context within which risk behaviors are likely to occur rather than the direct cause of these aspects of risk.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to collect recent studies carried out with samples of adolescents and young adults that, going beyond epidemiological and descriptive aspects, will allow for a more in-depth exploration and understanding of causes, risk factors and protective factors that may influence or determine the occurrence of certain risky situations, as well as moderate or contain the likelihood that these risky situations may take place. In addition, this Special Issue has the purpose of presenting programs or projects designed to work on the risk behaviors associated with romantic relationships in terms of both prevention and intervention.

Prof. Dr. Emanuela Confalonieri
Dr. Gaia Cuccì
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (1 paper)

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16 pages, 245 KiB  
Evidence-Based Reconstruction of Memories of a Disdainful Hookup: Identifying Risk Factors and Preventing Further Victimization
by Lidia Puigvert, Ramon Flecha and Sandra Racionero-Plaza
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(5), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14050367 - 26 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1260
Autobiographical memories of close relationships have been shown to have strong influence in health and life. Yet, there is no research published about longitudinal memory reconstruction of violent sporadic relationships while reading and discussing scientific evidence on gender violence victimization. This article presents [...] Read more.
Autobiographical memories of close relationships have been shown to have strong influence in health and life. Yet, there is no research published about longitudinal memory reconstruction of violent sporadic relationships while reading and discussing scientific evidence on gender violence victimization. This article presents a novel case of the reconstruction throughout time of the memory of a disdainful hookup experienced by a young woman. The victim’s diary and an interview were the sources of data collection. The analytical categories were developed in dialogue with the participant. The results indicate that, as the subject learned scientific evidence on gender violence in sporadic relationships, she progressively recalled details of the episode that she had self-censored before, became aware of the very violent nature of the hookup, rejected the relationship, and freed her desire for satisfactory romantic relationships. Full article

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Dating violence and relationships quality in adolescences: a longitudinal latent class study
Author: Sánchez Zafra
Highlights: The differents latent class, the results of the three-times analysis and that the quality of the relationships involved in dating violence

Title: A gender role mindset and beliefs about own personal goals guide adolescents’ and young adults’ behaviors towards the partner
Authors: Gaia Cuccì; Camilla Chiara Colombo; Emanuela Confalonieri
Affiliation: Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Department of Psychology, Research Center on Developmental and Educational Dynamics CRIdee
Abstract: The present study represents an effort to expand and deepen the literature on factors associated to the engagement in dating violence (DV) considering both gender stereotypes and personal values. To our knowledge, there are no other studies that considered these two aspects together, also including the perception of the subject about the quality of the romantic relationship. The sample consisted of 225 Italian adolescents and young adults (45.8% males; 54.2% females) aged 17-27 years (M= 20.38; SD =3.12) that completed an online survey investigating: gender stereotypes, personal values, the perception of the romantic relationship quality and dating violence perpetration. A model was tested, in which dating violence perpetration is affected by the presence of gender stereotypes (in terms of hostile and benevolent sexism), personal values oriented to power and dominance (i.e. self-enhacement), personal values oriented to universalism and interest for others (i.e. self-trascendence) through the mediation of adolescents’ perception of the romantic relationship quality (i.e. the perception of the presence of conflict, antagonism and punishment within the couple), controlling for age. Sex was also considered in the model. Results showed that self-enhancement was linked to a negative perception of the relationship quality which in turn affect DV perpetration, increasing the probability to engage in DV. Coherently, self-transcendence is indirectly linked to DV perpetration trough the mediation of the negative perception of the relationship quality, reducing the probability to engage in DV. Results also suggested that hostile sexism, self-enhancement and being male resulted to be directly linked to DV perpetration, thus representing potential risk factors for it. The study suggests the importance of working on gender role beliefs and personal orientation to power which guide the way people perceive the relationships and behave towards the partner and then leading to the engagement in dating violence perpetration.

Title: Dating violence and relationships quality in adolescences: a longitudinal latent class study
Authors: Sánchez-Zafra, María; Viejo, Carmen; Ortega-Ruiz Rosario
Affiliation: Universidad de Córdoba
Abstract: Violence in adolescent couples -dating violence- can occur in different forms and types, with important consequences for both members of the couple. The normalization of certain behaviors sometimes makes it difficult to identify this violence in its early stages, allowing it to escalate and lead to high-intensity violent behaviors. The objective of this study is to analyze the different violent profiles that can be established in the relationship through a three-time longitudinal study of latent classes and explore their relationship with quality variables of the couple that could be acting as risk factors for their development and escalation. For this, self-report measures will be carried out on approximately 2,700 adolescents. between 12 and 18 years. The latent classes will be examined, and regression will be performed to check the relationship with quality variables. The existing differences based on sex will be observed using a T'test. The data will be discussed analyzing the possible normalization of certain behaviors of negative quality in relationships, which could act as a risk factor for the development of more serious violent behaviors.

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