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Relationship Education in Emerging Adulthood. Miranda Doremus-Reznor. What is Relationship Education?. How would you describe a healthy relationship? What are some key components that make up a healthy romantic relationship?

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Relationship education in emerging adulthood

Relationship Education in Emerging Adulthood

Miranda Doremus-Reznor

What is relationship education
What is Relationship Education?

How would you describe a healthy relationship? What are some key components that make up a healthy romantic relationship?

  • Relationship education originated from marriage education and has its background in religious institutions and was exclusively offered to couples.

  • Relationship education is “provision of information designed to help couples and individuals experience successful, stable relationships” (Fincham, Stanley, & Rhoades, 2011).

What is emerging adulthood
What is Emerging Adulthood?

  • Emerging adulthood is “the transition from adolescence to adulthood” (Santrock, 1981, p. 19)

  • 18 years old to 25 years old

  • Experimentation, Exploration, and Individualization

  • Default individualization: a passive strategy in choosing identity that is characterized by “circumstance and impulse” (Schwartz, Cote, & Arnett, (2005).

  • Developmental individualization: an active strategy in choosing an identity that is characterized by “continual and deliberate growth. Self- improvement is sought through new opportunities and experiences

Where did you experience relationship education?

From peers? Family? Was the information/advice given to you reliable?

Do you think relationship education necessary? Why or why not?

Thinking back, is there any advice or tips you wish you would have had going into your first serious relationship? Or advice you would give to a friend or sibling getting into their first serious relationship?

Relationship education is it necessary
Relationship Education: Is it necessary?

  • Divorce has negative mental heath effects on spouses and children as well.

  • Relationship education provide conflict management skills.

  • Healthy committed relationships are a better environment for childrearing.

  • Stable, happy relationships are less likely to need government support

  • Adult children from divorced homes are more at risk for relationship distress

Is it necessary continued
Is it necessary? Continued…

  • “With couplehood being an important part of the attachment process, success in relationships can be important to an individual’s well-being” (Warren, Bishop, & Morris, 2010).

  • “Individuals in committed romantic relationships experience fewer mental heath problems and were less likely to be overweight, and engaged is less risky behavior” (Fincham, Stanley, & Rhoades, 2011).

  • “Emerging Adulthood is a period in which many health-relevant habits are formed and relationships that culminate in marriage” (Fincham, Stanley, & Rhoades, 2011).

Implementation and programs
Implementation and Programs

  • Ways to implement on campuses: 1) student government or counseling centers (not very successful) 2) formal course instituted by a professor

  • Different Programs: Project RELATE, Within My Reach, Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP)

  • Programs focus on partner selection, family influences, relationship expectations, and sex-roles in relationship, identifying goals for a relationship, “Sliding vs. Deciding”, and safety.


  • People who participated in Project RELATE increased the amount of relationship regulation as compared to those who didn’t

  • Participants experienced reported lower levels of conflict behavior

  • Participants were more aware of “warning signs”

  • Participants showed greater increase in thinking about relationship decisions

  • Participating in Project RELATE was related with a 70% decrease in the odds of sexual infidelity


  • Different ways to implement the program

  • Research on what elements make up a healthy relationship.

  • More research on relationship education

  • Research on how the program can affect choosing a partner

  • Research on how relationship education affects individuals not in a relationship versus couples


Fincham, F. D., Stanley, S. M., & Rhoades, G. K. (2011). Relationship education in emerging adulthood: Problems and prospects. In F. D. Fincham & M. Cui (Eds.), Romantic Relationships in Emerging Adulthood (1 ed., pp. 293-316). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Halpern-Meekin, S. (2012). Unlikely optimists, skeptics, and believers: Understanding adolescents' perspective relationship views. Journal of Adolescent Research, 27(5), 606-631. doi: 10.1177/0743558411432634

Johnson, V. I. (2010). Adult children of divorce and relationship education: Implications for counselors and counselor educators. The Family Journal, 19(1), 22-29. doi: 10.1177/1066480710387494

Santrock, J. W. (1981). Adolescence. (14th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

Schwartz, S. J., Cote, J. E., & Arnett, J. J. (2005). Identity and agency in emerging adulthood : Two developmental routes in the individualization process. Youth & Society, 37(2), 201-229. doi: 10.1177/0044118X05275965

Warren, J., Bishop, M. A., & Morris, T. M. (2010). Success −−−− a dream with an outline: A 9-week program for couples. The Family Journal, 12(1), 55-61. doi: 10.1177/1066480709355276