Adolescent Relationships in the Transition to Adulthood

Kelly Raley, University of Texas at Austin
Sarah R. Crissey, University of Texas at Austin
Chandra Muller, University of Texas at Austin

To better understand how prior life-course experiences might contribute to race differences in the timing and type of first union, this research investigates race differences in adolescents' relationships with the opposite sex. Preliminary analyses using data from the first wave of the Add Health show that black adolescents are less likely to report opposite sex friends or romantic partners, but much more likely to report having a sexual relationship. These experiences in adolescence are associated with the likelihood of marriage and cohabitation by the third wave of the Add Health. Whereas involvement in social relationships, especially romantic relationships, with the opposite sex has a strong positive association with marriage, involvement in sexual relationships, especially nonromantic sexual relationships, has a weaker effect on the odds of marrying.

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Presented in Session 36: Transitions from Adolescence to Adulthood