Sept
3
2013

marsTeenage boys are not from Mars

For many teens, intimacy is just as important as passion and physical attraction in romantic relationships. Commitment also plays a crucial role. And teen boys are not from Mars. These are the conclusions of the newest CcaM study that is set to be published this week in The International Journal of Behavioral Development.

Teenage boys are not from Mars
September 2013. For many teens, intimacy is just as important as passion and physical attraction in romantic relationships. Commitment also plays a crucial role. And teen boys are not from Mars. These are the conclusions of the newest CcaM study that is set to be published this week in The International Journal of Behavioral Development.

Teens’ experience of sexuality has been the subject of numerous studies. However, much less research has addressed the way in which they experience love and relationships. CcaM researchers Sindy Sumter, Patti Valkenburg and Jochen Peter interviewed 1,765 Dutch teens in the 12-to-17 age group to take stock of their views on love and relationships. Most teens have their first experiences with love and relationships between the ages of 12 and 15. About half of the 12 and 13-year-olds and two thirds of the 14 to 17-year-olds who participated in the study were currently or had been in a relationship.

Does passion diminish with age?
To compare the views of teens with adults, the study also included 1,026 adults between the ages of 18 and 88. Some 90% of the adults were currently or had been in a romantic relationship. The adult age groups (young, middle and older adults) did not differ in their views on commitment and intimacy in a relationship. The 18-to-29 age group placed more emphasis on passion. However, the passion experienced by the older adult age groups was only slightly lower.

Men from Mars and women from Venus?
Men and women – in both the adolescent and adult age groups – tended to view love and relationships in similar ways. Boys and men put slightly more emphasis on passion than girls and women, but the two sexes were identical in the importance they attached to commitment and intimacy–the ability to share feelings with their partner.

Research method
The study involved a survey of over 2,700 teenagers and adults, conducted amongst a representative sample of the Dutch population by means of online questionnaires. The researchers based their model and questionnaires on the cognitive triangular theory of love developed by American psychologist Robert Sternberg. In this model, love is represented as three interrelated components: passion, intimacy and commitment.

Publication details
Sindy R. Sumter, Patti M. Valkenburg & Jochen Peter: ‘Perceptions of love across the lifespan: Differences in passion, intimacy, and commitment, in: International Journal of Behavioral Development, 37, 418-428. (5 September 2013).

Download the article here

Copyright © 2019 Center for research on Children, Adolescents and the Media.
CcaM is part of the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)

Privacy Statement

Designed by BungeWerk

uva university of amsterdam ascor