Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access



First Advisor

Jennifer Malatras




Family Stability, Global family stability, Molecular family stability, relationship satisfaction, perceived emotional intimacy


A large focus of research on the influences of the family on child adjustment has been on the relationship between the stability of the home environment while growing up and the psychological and emotional outcomes of children, adolescents, and adults. Overall, this research suggests that homes high in stability are more beneficial for children. The purpose of the present study is to expand on this body of research by examining the relationships between aspects of family stability while growing up and relationship satisfaction and intimacy in emerging adulthood. To accomplish this, 152 participants, aged 18 to 25 years, who endorsed being in intimate relationships at the time of the study were recruited through Prolific, an online survey platform. Participants were asked to anonymously complete a survey measuring two related but distinct constructs of family stability, namely the regularity of daily family activities and routines (termed molecular family stability) and major family life changes (termed global family stability), and to report on their current relationship satisfaction and perceived emotional intimacy. Findings supported an association between molecular family stability and global family stability, whereby greater regularity of daily activities and routines (greater molecular family stability) was associated with fewer major family life changes (greater global family stability). Moreover, relationship satisfaction and perceived emotional intimacy were positively correlated with each other, with greater relationship satisfaction associated with greater emotional intimacy. Contrary to expectations, neither aspect of family stability during childhood was significantly correlated with relationship satisfaction or perceived emotional intimacy. Moreover, although hypothesized that molecular family stability may play a protective role in the relationships between global family stability and relationship satisfaction and intimacy, the present study did not support those models. These findings can help provide direction for future research.



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In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.