Singles’ relational attitudes in a time of individualization

A.R. Poortman, A.C. Liefbroer

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The rise in singlehood among young adults is often seen as an indication that young adults are nowadays more individualized, suggesting that singlehood is viewed as a positive experience. Using the Panel Study of Social Integration in the Netherlands, we examined singles' (N=836) relational attitudes across young adulthood. Singles were not very positive about singlehood and a large majority felt more positive about a partner relationship than about being alone. Most singles were also more positive about living together than about steady dating and cohabitation was more popular than marriage. We furthermore examined whether values, life-course experiences and ageing influence singles' relational attitudes. Value orientations and age proved to be the most consistent predictors. Singles with liberal values and older singles had less positive attitudes toward relational commitment than less liberal and younger singles. The findings suggest that the positive image of singlehood needs to be reconsidered. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)938-949
    JournalSocial Science Research
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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