Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Relatively little research has focused on the positive adjustment of emerging adult adoptees (Palacios & Brodzinsky, 2010). Given the developmental context of emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2000), it is important to select a measure of adjustment that reflects the increased ambiguity seen in this time period. The present study aims to develop and validate a measure of relational competence, or competence in one’s closest relationship regardless of relationship type (i.e., romantic vs. nonromantic). This measure will be created by adapting the Romantic Competence Interview, a measure of romantic competence previously used with emerging adults (Shulman, Davila, & Shachar-Shapira, 2011). Participants included 162 emerging adult adoptees who were recruited as part of a larger longitudinal study (Grotevant, McRoy, Wrobel, & Ayers-Lopez, 2013). Indicators of relational competence were selected from measures of intimacy maturity coded from interviews in which participants discussed their self-identified closest relationship (White, Speisman, Costos, Kelly, & Bartis, 1984). Confirmatory factor analysis showed that the proposed model of relational competence was a good fit to the data and that this model was invariant across relationship type and gender. No differences in relational competence scores were found by relationship type or by gender

First Advisor

Harold D. Grotevant