Receiving support from intimate others is important to individual well-being across the lifespan. However, the role of support in adolescent romantic relationships has not been investigated extensively. Using two studies, this dissertation utilized data from N = 111 adolescent couples collected as part of the Adolescents, Schools, Peers, and Interpersonal Relationships (ASPIRE) to investigate the implications of support for adolescents’ relationship quality, and positive behavioral adjustment. The first study expanded on existing research by investigating whether support given in response to a partner’s experience of a stressful event, and gauged from the perspective of the support recipient, was associated with the quality of adolescents’ romantic relationships. The study, further investigated whether the association between support and relationship quality changed depending on stress levels experienced due to the stressful event. Results from the dyadic process multilevel model showed that support receipt was associated with increased relationship quality on the same day and that this association was moderated by stress. Results imply that support processes engaged in by adolescents may operate in a similar manner as they do for adults. Implications for the research literature are discussed.
The second study examined the role of parental support in adolescents’ romantic relationships. Although, research indicates parents continue to play an important role in the socialization of their children during the adolescent years, very little is known about the role of parenting practices in the domain of adolescent romantic relationships. Study two used longitudinal data to investigate the influence of parental support of adolescent romantic relationships and parental trust on adolescents’ disclosure of information about romantic relationships and adolescent problem behaviors. Results of the Actor Partner Interdependence Model indicated that parental support of romantic relationships but not parental trust was associated with increases in adolescent romantic relationship disclosure at time one, and decreases in problem behaviors at time two. Furthermore, important sex differences emerged. Sex differences and implications for parents of adolescents are discussed.