Pathways to Adulthood and Marriage: Teenagers’ Attitudes, Expectations, and Relationship Patterns. Contents


This report has examined teenagers’ attitudes and experiences related to romantic relationships and marriage. It has examined these attitudes and experiences using data from four large national surveys:  (1) the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), (2) Monitoring the Future (MTF), (3) the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), and (4) the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Using these four data sets, we have focused on teenagers’ initial exposure to and experiences with romantic relationships, as well as their general attitudes toward marriage. Using data from the 2005 wave of the NLSY97, we also analyzed marriage and relationship patterns among a recent cohort of young adults and identified factors in adolescence associated with the likelihood of choosing various relationship pathways in early adulthood. We summarize these findings briefly below. We end the report with some recommendations for future research.

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