Marital Attitude Trajectories Across Adolescence


Marital attitudes Marriage Adolescence Expectations Trajectories


The current study seeks to address the implicit assumption in the developmental literature that marital attitudes are static by investigating how various marital attitudes might change across adolescence. Longitudinal change for three marital attitudes in relation to family structure, educational aspirations, race and gender are examined. Utilizing a sample of 1,010 high school students (53% male; 76% white) recruited from a Midwestern metropolitan area, latent growth models were used to model marital attitude trajectories across adolescence. The sample was followed for 4 years from ages 14 until 18. Results revealed that adolescents placed a higher priority on marriage as they prepared to transition into young adulthood but that gender, race and educational aspirations all altered the degree in which marital attitudes changed across the time period of the study. Results highlight the importance of considering multiple constructs of marital attitudes and the need for more longitudinal work in this area of study.

Original Publication Citation

Willoughby, B. J. (2010). Marital attitude trajectories across adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 1305-1317.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Youth and Adolescence




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor