SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1:

Meeus, W.H.J., Branje, S.J.T., van der Valk, I., & de Wied, M. (2007). Relationships with intimate partner, best friend, and parents in adolescence and early adulthood: A study of the saliency of the intimate partnership. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 31(6), 569–580.


We studied the psychological importance of best friend and intimate partner in the personal network of adolescents and early adults, and links between relationships and emotional problems as well as links between relationships themselves. A series of hypotheses derived from the “intimate partner (IP) general saliency perspective” and “the intimate partner (IP) early adult saliency perspective” was tested. The IP general saliency perspective predicts that the relationship with intimate partner is psychologically more meaningful than the relationship with best friend in adolescence and early adulthood. The IP early adult saliency perspective predicts that the relationship with intimate partner does not have superior psychological value in adolescence and acquires it in early adulthood. Data of Waves 1 and 3 of a six-year longitudinal study of 1041 adolescents and early adults, aged 12–23 at Wave 1, were used. Results showed that when early adults and adolescents make the shift from best friend to intimate partner, relational commitment becomes stronger and emotional problems become smaller, supporting the IP general saliency perspective. Results also showed that only in early adulthood was a stronger commitment to intimate partner related to less emotional problems, and more parental support was linked to stronger relational commitment to intimate partner. These findings clearly support the IP early adult saliency perspective. In sum, when adolescents and early adults make the transition to the intimate partnership they enter a psychologically more meaningful relationship. When individuals enter early adulthood the psychological value of the intimate partner relationship becomes more salient: the quality of the intimate relationship becomes more stable and linked to emotional adjustment.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Explore the parent-young adult relationship as it is linked to relationship development with an intimate partner.
  2. Discuss the quality of friendships and intimate relationships as they relate to emotional adjustment.
  3. Explain the study’s implications on the relevance of intimacy and friendship in young adulthood.    

Article 2:

Geurts, T., Poortman, A.R., van Tilburg, T., & Dykstra, P.A., (2009). Contact between grandchildren and their grandparents in early adulthood. Journal of Family Issues, 30(12), 1698-1713.


Using cross-sectional data from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (N = 1,231), this study examines the relationship between grandchildren and their grandparents across early adulthood. Age is used as a proxy for change during the grandchild’s life course and the influence of major life course characteristics is examined. Results indicate that the majority of young adult grandchildren have contact with their grandparents, but the average frequency is low. Age differences in contact frequency suggest a decline in grandparent–grandchild contact across early adulthood. Multilevel analyses show that grandchildren’s employment status, partner, and parenthood status do not affect contact frequency with grandparents. Rather, the results point at the importance of the parental home for facilitating grandparent–grandchild contact as age-related differences are accounted for by whether grandchildren left the parental home. Furthermore, most of the variance in grandparent–grandchild contact is attributable to differences between family of the mother’s and family of the father’s side.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Explain the changes in grandparent-grandchild relationships in early adulthood.
  2. Discuss the results and relevance of the study for early adults.
  3. Describe the potential impact of grandparent presence in the parental home on the decision-making of young adults.
  4. What are the possible benefits of grandparent-grandchild relationships?