Emerging adulthood is a time rife with transitions, and is thus an important time period to study the various ways in which people both connect with and move away from others, or how they are socially oriented. Previous research has suggested a number of factors that contribute to social orientations, including social motivations, the self in relation to others, other-directed emotions and cognitions, and actual social behaviors. The current study examined what types of social orientations exist and how they relate to indices of relational and individual well-being in a sample of US emerging adults (N = 787). Using latent profile analysis, results suggest five types of social orientations, each showing a distinct pattern of moving toward and/or away from others and links to varying degrees of relational and individual well-being. Overall, results suggest that being overly oriented toward or away from others presents both relational and individual challenges, whereas more balanced approaches tend toward optimal outcomes. This study presents a unique and novel view of how emerging adults move toward and away from others, allowing for a more detailed discussion of social and nonsocial subtypes and the nuances of how and why they relate differentially to well-being. This is the first study to consider multiple aspects of social orientations, and as such provides one of the clearest and most detailed descriptions of social subtypes in emerging adulthood to date.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Marriage, Family, and Human Development

Date Submitted


Document Type





social motivation, self-evaluations, relationships, emerging adulthood