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College Culture’s Effect on Sustaining Romantic Relationships

  • Date Submitted: 04/12/2011 12:00 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 36.8 
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Over the years, the formerly frowned upon “hook-up” relationships that were seen to be problematic are presently perceived as normal behavior on college campuses (Manning, Giordana, & Longmore, 2006), making this a desired area for study. Much of the research regarding sexual behavior among college students has been compiled of quantitative data measuring the frequency of the “hook-up’” and the scripts associated with it, yet little has supplied us with in-depth qualitative data to understand the nature of such behavior and how it affects relationships. Because of this, I seek to expand the research already presented by observing and analyzing the social norms, scripts, and sexual attitudes of the college culture and closely examine their influence on the formation/maintaining of relationships among students.
I hypothesized that because of the current college culture and social norms associated with the acceptance of casual sexual behaviors, there is a detrimental effect on beginning and sustaining romantic relationships among peers. In order to conduct such a study, I have collected qualitative and quantitative data through in-depth interviews, personal observations, and the implementation of surveys.
Students may be aware that their own behavior is a direct product of their surroundings, but they tend to assume its acceptability because it reflects the social norms or scripts found on college campuses. According to Schultz (2007) social norms are the behavioral expectations and cues within a society or group (Schultz 2007). As for scripts, they are social information that is deployed in everyday interaction (Regan & Berscheid, 1999), -- general guidelines about behaviors that are learned through social interaction. Since social norms are defined by a person’s public behavior due to the behavioral scripts deemed by societal membership, students have little to go on but their observations of their peers. So, when students are exposed...


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