Date of Conferral







Virginia Salzer


Adults who have not developed effective communication skills are at an increased risk of

having unsuccessful relationships. Children of divorce are less likely to have communication behaviors modeled to them, resulting in undeveloped communication and therefore a higher likelihood to get divorced themselves. The purpose of this quantitative quasi-experimental study was to determine if there was an association between the successful transition to emerging adulthood and the development of communication behaviors among adults. The research question focused on whether successful transition through emerging adulthood positively discriminates communication patterns among adults, specifically using Gottman's framework of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse when controlling for gender and level of education. The sample consisted of 30 participants ages 25 to 30 years old, recruited from university participant pools. Arnett's definition of successful transition into adulthood (accepting responsibility for one's actions, independent beliefs, financial independence) was operationalized to collect data for the predictor variable. The Four Horsemen Questionnaire was used to garner data for the continuous dependent variable (maladaptive communication patterns). An analysis of variance indicated a significant relationship between maladaptive communication patterns and the transition into adulthood. Findings contribute to social change by helping emerging adults understand the impact of a successful transition into adulthood on communication behaviors. Using the developmental period of emerging adulthood to improve communication patterns may assist in mitigating divorce risk variables and relationship breakdowns.