Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Tracy L. Morris

Committee Co-Chair

Elisa Krackow

Committee Member

Aaron Metzger

Committee Member

Kristin Moilanen

Committee Member

JoNell Strough


Dating anxiety is a specific type of social anxiety individuals experience in the presence of dating partners or potential dating partners that disrupts typical romantic development during adolescence. The etiological factors that contribute to dating anxiety have been less researched than other presentations of anxiety so the present research aimed to further explore potential contributors based on etiological factors related to other anxiety disorders. Many parent variables have been associated with anxiety disorders including parental anxiety, overcontrol, and fear-conditioning. In regard to dating, fathers have been shown to be more controlling and restrictive than mothers in their rule use. The present study aimed to examine the relation between adolescents' experience of dating anxiety and paternal involvement in adolescent dating relationships, specifically examining paternal concern about their adolescent dating, restrictive control over dating, and fear-conditioning through rules implemented specifically for safety. To assess adolescents experience of parental rules regarding dating, this study used a father-adolescent dyadic discussion task in which fathers presented rules for dating and then the dyad discussed the rules. Although paternal concern, restrictive rule use, and safety rationales presented during the dyadic discussion were not related to dating anxiety, aspects of the father-teen relationship and paternal involvement were related to dating anxiety. Adolescents' reports of negative interactions with their father were related to higher levels of dating anxiety. Also, paternal use of dating restriction as a consequence for rule violations were related to higher levels of dating anxiety. These finding suggest that the father-teen relationship and restrictive control through restrictive consequences is important in adolescent romantic development. This study provides a research paradigm for further examining parental involvement in adolescent dating and dating anxiety, and offers targets for future research including ways to improve sample selection and observational tasks.