Date of Conferral







Scott Wowra


Emerging adults are motivated to form intimate relationships and explore their relational identity. Little is known, however, about the development of relational identity in emerging adults. Given that external influences such as movies can impact how people view relationships, and that emerging adults are more likely to watch movies than other forms of media, it is essential to explore the relationship between movies and relational identity in emerging adults. The purpose of this quantitative, nonexperimental study was to examine the relationship between relational identity, gender, and the preference for romance movies among emerging adults. The theoretical foundations for the study were Erikson’s psychosocial development theory, Arnett’s theory of emerging adults, and Cheek and Cheek’s tetrapartite model of self. A total of 158 participants were recruited through SurveyMonkey Audience. A 2x2 factorial analysis of variance was used to analyze how romance movie preferences (low, high) and gender (female, male) interacted on relational identity. The findings revealed a significant main effect with a small effect size of movie preference on relational identity; high romance movie preference was associated with a higher relational identity. The study may benefit a wide range of people, including future researchers, people who work on movies, and people who enjoy watching movies. Professionals in the counseling field may also benefit from the study, especially counselors who are involved in couples’ therapy and counselors who practice cinematherapy.

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