Using coercive strategies to resolve conflicts with romantic partners has toxic effects on relationships. Coercion predicts relationship dissatisfaction, instability, and intimate partner violence. The early adult romantic relationships model hypothesizes that such strategies first emerge within the family and continue to affect romantic relationships into adulthood. We tested whether adolescent antisocial behaviors and deviancy training with peers mediated between early disruptive parenting and adult romantic relationship coercion. Furthermore, we tested the impact of trauma in this longitudinal model. We studied 230 adults in committed relationships, whom we initially recruited and studied when they were age 11. We collected videotaped observations with friends (when participants were ages 16-17) and with intimate partners (when participants were ages 28-30). As hypothesized, disruptive parenting predicted antisocial behaviors and deviancy training with friends in adolescence, which in turn predicted coercion within intimate adult relationships. Moreover, disruptive parenting in early adolescence also directly predicted romantic partner coercion 15 years later. No significant effects were found for trauma. Findings suggest the promise of promoting healthy adult intimate relationships through early relationships with parents and friends.
- Deviancy training
- Observational studies
- Romantic relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies