The role of gender, motivation, and social status in predicting perceived romantic relationship interest in pre-adolescence
Brown, John Ross
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the behavioral and social characteristics of individuals in pre-adolescence who have begun to show interest in romantic relationships with the opposite gender. Four-hundred and fifty-five students in grades three through five from four public elementary schools in the rural southeastern United States were administered two self-and peer-report questionnaires that contained questions regarding their peer interactions, friendship groups, and peer/self-ratings of romantic behavior. The results indicated that self-reported interest in romantic relationships begins early and is consistently high; over 50% of students reported being interested in a romantic relationship irrespective of grade level. However, there were no differences in self-reported interest levels across age or gender. Multiple linear regression analyses suggested that the best predictors of perceived romantic relationship interest in pre-adolescence were gender, high motivation to engage in romantic behaviors, and perceptions as popular by peers.