Romantic Relationships and Social Withdrawal: A Longitudinal Study from Adolescence to Adulthood
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Description: Social withdrawal likely affects and is affected by romantic relationship development. We investigated longitudinal, bi-directional associations between withdrawal and romantic relationship involvement, timing, and relationship characteristics in 1,710 young adults from the Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS) and their romantic partners. Data were collected across 4 waves, covering romantic relationships from ages 17 to 29 years. Results from structural equation modelling showed that higher withdrawal predicted a higher likelihood of romantic non-involvement by adulthood, consistently being single three years later, and entering one’s first relationship when older. Withdrawal moderately decreased when youth entered their first relationship. Highly withdrawn males in particular had difficulties maintaining their relationships. Results are discussed in the context of young adults’ romantic relationship developmental sequelae.