Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Early Maladaptive Schemas as Predictors of Interpersonal Orientation and Peer Connectedness in University Students

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Early Maladaptive Schemas as Predictors of Interpersonal Orientation and Peer Connectedness in University Students

Article excerpt

The transition to adulthood has become more demanding over the past several decades, and emerging adults (those aged 18 to 25 years) are struggling to attain the markers of adulthood, such as completing higher education, settling into a career, and developing social networks and close relationships (Arnett, 2000; Gralinski-Bakker et al., 2005). In addition, positive self-evaluation of their behaviors and emotions has become much more important for today's young adults than the traditional demographic markers (Côté, 2000; Shanahan, Porfeli, Mortimer, & Erickson, 2005). In line with these new markers of adulthood, forming mature interpersonal relationships is one of the primary developmental tasks of emerging adults as family ties become less salient, creating the need for young people to approach and value reliable relationships with others. In other words, as earlier scholars on the topic (Erikson, 1968; Neugarten, Moore, & Lowe, 1965) suggested, adult identity exploration is inseparably related to the individual's social world. Thus, a distinct feature of emerging adulthood today is that most young people focus on identity exploration in the context of interpersonal relationships (Arnett, 2000; Doumen et al., 2012; Kerpelman & Pittman, 2001; Montgomery, 2005; Radmacher & Azmitia, 2006).

Given that interpersonal context has such an important role in identity exploration, emerging adults need to value interactions with others and approach them. Interpersonal orientation, as one of these social tendencies (others include openness, receptiveness, and reactiveness), refers to a worldview that sees interpersonal contact as important in shaping an individual's social reality and influencing his or her attitudes, behaviors, and values (Yon, 2012). As a relatively long-term preference for social interactions in a variety of situations (Kiesler, 1996), interpersonal orientation leads to the formation of more mature and stable interpersonal relationships (Buhrmester, Furman, Wittenberg, & Reis, 1988). Thus, highly interpersonally oriented people are likely to be interested in, and responsive to, relationships with others and to benefit from social interaction (Smith & Ruiz, 2007). Researchers have suggested that peer relationships are as critical as romantic relationships during the transition from adolescence to adulthood, in terms of personal development that allows the individual to make the transition. As Fuhrman, Flannagan, and Matamoros (2009) reported, the behavior expectations that an individual holds for friends, such as emotional closeness and loyalty, are similar to those for a romantic partner. Furthermore, not only are intimate relationships with others closely associated with identity exploration, but these relationships also facilitate a sense of personal identity (Montgomery, 2005). In fact, in several studies on college-aged young adults researchers have shown that identity exploration was likely to be accelerated by close peers' behavior (Kerpelman & Pittman, 2001). Given that establishing intimate relationships with peers takes a critical role in the transition during emerging adulthood, it is necessary to pay more attention to young adults' intimacy with peers.

Relationships with peers have a lifelong effect on the individual's development. Although the roles and functions of peer relationships may vary across developmental phases, peers serve as essential social networks throughout the lifetime. Despite the trend in the decreasing frequency of contact with friends in the stage from high school to single adulthood, it is during emerging adulthood that the functional importance of friends in social networks becomes maximized (Carbery & Buhrmester, 1998). By conducting a four-wave series of interviews at the ages of 13, 15, 18, and 22 years, Gallego, Delgado, and Sánchez-Queija (2011) found that adolescents' peer attachment increased over time between the ages of 13 and 22. …

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