Family of Origin Influences on Late Adolescent Romantic Relationships

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
David H. Demo, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Using Bowenian theory as a foundation, this study examined the hypothesis that properties of close relationships are transmitted from one generation to the next. A large sample of single, never married, late adolescents (N = 977) completed measures regarding trait anxiety, family dynamics (triangulation, fusion, and control) in the family of origin, and communication patterns in romantic relationships. Multivariate regression analyses indicated that fusion and control were associated with higher anxiety. In addition, fusion and control in the family of origin were related to communication in romantic relationships of late adolescents. In accordance with Bowenian theory, anxiety mediated the effects of fusion and control in the family of origin on romantic relationships. Although triangulation in the family of origin was unrelated to anxiety, triangulation was related to aversive communication in close relationships. The findings provide partial confirmation and suggest several extensions to Bowen's theory of intergenerational transmission.

Additional Information

Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, 663-672.
Language: English
Date: 1993
Family systems theory, Young adulthood, Late adolescence, Romantic relationships, Family influence

Email this document to