The effect of peers on marital beliefs and expectations

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Lee Dixon


The current study examined the effect peers have upon young adults' romantic beliefs, controlling for other factors known to impact romantic beliefs, such as interparental conflict. Friendship intimacy was found to be strongly associated with peers' level of influence on romance. Young adults perceived that their friends' romantic beliefs were similar to their own. Differences in beliefs were not related to friendship closeness. The relationship between closeness and influence was not moderated by romantic experience, nor was the relationship between differences in belief and closeness. The relationship between friendship intimacy and influence might vary by gender. Men perceived equal influence from their male and female friends. Women sought advice more frequently from female friends than male friends. Much of this gender effect disappeared once friendship intimacy was accounted for. Opposite gender peers did not significantly influence the realism of romantic beliefs. This research suggests that friends play a strong role in young adults' romantic beliefs, although this impact may vary based upon intimacy and gender.


Love Sociological aspects, Mate selection Sociological aspects, Friendship Sociological aspects, Marriage Sociological aspects, Peer pressure

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2012, author