Heterogeneity in patterns of romantic relationship dissolution in young adulthood
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De-standardized and individualized life pathways of today’s young adults indicate that they are more likely to engage in serial romantic relationships. Although studies on romantic relationships are abundant, the cumulative relationship dissolution experiences during young adulthood is not yet completely understood. Using a person-centered approach, the present study investigated 1) heterogeneity in timing, sequence, and frequency of multiple relationship dissolution events (i.e., cohabitation dissolution, divorce, and multiple transitions) during young adulthood, 2) community, family, and psychosocial characteristics that predict different romantic dissolution experiences, 3) influences of romantic dissolution experiences on physical health risk reflected by elevated levels of regulatory biomarkers, and 4) the protective effect of parental support on the association between romantic relationship and health outcomes. Results highlight that early community, family, and psychosocial characteristics of young adults create the variability in romantic relationship dissolution experiences that is related to increased physical health risk through proliferated stressors (i.e., economic distress, decline in social connections) and stress responses (i.e., substance use, feeling of isolation). Parents’ emotional and financial support had buffering effects on the association between various relationship dissolution experiences and health outcomes.