Investigation of Starting Romantic Intimacy in Emerging Adulthood in terms of Self-Esteem, Gender and Gender Roles

Having an intimate relation is a long process which consists of initiating, experimenting, intensifying, integrating and bonding stages. (Rowley, 2001) For this week, the article focuses on only starting stage of a relation, and seeks relationship between gender, gender roles, self-esteem and initiating a romantic intimate relationship. In this paper, at first, I will tell a summary of the study. Then, I will mention how it contributed to literature, and finally I will point its few limitations.

For this study, 148 female and 108 male university students (total 256 students) from both social sciences and physical sciences participated. Their mean average age was 22.59. To gather data, ‘Markers of Starting Romantic Intimacy Scale’, ‘Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale’, and ‘Bem Gender Roles Inventory’ were used. According the results of the study, “males are better in initiating romantic intimacy compared to females”, people with androgynous role are better in this issue compared to feminine and undifferentiated gender roles, and self-esteem plays a significant role in for this stage of romantic relation.

I think there are two main contributions of study to literature. Firstly, a scale which measures individuals’ perceptions of starting romantic intimacy was developed by the researchers. Secondly, it brought new finding to literature with regard to relationship between gender roles and starting a romantic intimacy. To illustrate, while previous studies revealed that male dominance is a significant determinant in maintenance of the relation, this study found that androgynous role is more effective in initiating romantic relation. Moreover, it can be concluded that in each stage of relation, effect of gender role differs.

For this study, I can say that there are two limitations with respect to their selection of the participants. Firstly, participant group whose average age group is 22.59 is not suitable for the group of emerging adulthood. Based on my lecture notes, onset of adulthood increases year by year, and it exceeds 30 years-old since the individuals spend more time for their education and they live together with their families for a long time. Therefore, I think age range for emerging adulthood group should start at least 25 years-old, and researchers should have chose participants older than 25 years-old. Other limitation is participants can be selected from two distinct cities one of which is from east of Turkey and other one is west of Turkey. In this way, they could also look into cultural effects in initiating relationship even though these cities are not from different countries.

On the whole, this article gained a new perspective to me in the issue of initiating a romantic relationship. I learnt that there is a correlation between gender, gender role, self-esteem and   starting to have romantic intimacy.


Atak, H., & Eryılmaz, A. (2011). Investigation of starting romantic intimacy in emerging adulthood in terms of self-esteem, gender and gender roles.Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice11(2), 595-600.

Rowley, R. D. (2001). Stages of relationships. Retrieved from