Romantic Relationships, Parenthood, and the Personal Sense of Mastery: The Consequences of Gender among Young Adults

C. André Christie-Mizell, Brittany N. Hearne, Ryan D. Talbert, Cleothia G. Frazier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Solidifying a strong personal sense of mastery or control over life is a key developmental task in young adulthood. We investigate the extent to which intimate relationship status (i.e., marriage, cohabitation, monogamous dating, and singlehood) and parenthood simultaneously shape mastery for a longitudinal sample of 18- to 34-year-olds. We further investigate whether age qualifies the effects of relationship-parenthood status on the sense of mastery similarly for men and women. Regardless of parenthood and gender, marriage and cohabitation are related to higher mastery than monogamous dating and singlehood. On average, single fathers and mothers have the lowest mastery. As individuals age from their late twenties into their early thirties, married and monogamously dating men without children have the highest levels of mastery, while cohabiting men without children and monogamously dating mothers have the lowest levels of mastery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-191
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Focus
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences

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