The Social World of Adolescent Relationships


The Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (TARS), funded by the NICHD and DHHS, is a longitudinal and in-depth study of adolescent heterosexual relationships. We emphasize the potentially important role of adolescent identities, communication awkwardness, heightened emotionality, and various types of asymmetries as well as the critical but subjective element of "trust." A core theme is that experiences associated with gender, social class position, and minority status influence the course of heterosexual dating and romantic relationships. We identify the features of relationships that may influence variations in both the management of sexual risk deriving from the partner's experiences/behaviors and an individual’s own involvement in risky sexual behavior. Additionally, we explore how emotionality associated with romantic and other social relationships influences identity development, and, in turn, sexual behavior. Further, we examine distinct individual trajectories of involvement in high-risk sexual behaviors, focusing attention on stability and changes from a particular pattern. The findings from this project will lead to potential areas of social malleability in relationship choices and behaviors that can be incorporated into the design of more effective HIV prevention/intervention efforts.

Funded by the following grants:

Dating Relationships and Adolescent Fertility Related Behavior
Peggy C. Giordano
Monica A. Longmore (CI)
Wendy D. Manning (CI)

Youthful Relationships and Sexual Risk Taking
Peggy C. Giordano (PI)
Monica A. Longmore (CI)
Wendy D. Manning (CI)

Social Relationships, Identity, and Sexual Risk Taking
Monica A. Longmore (PI)
Peggy C. Giordano (CI)
Wendy D. Manning (CI)