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Students will report that their mental health either increased or was not changed by their romantic relationships

This hypothesis is based on past studies of college students in serious romantic relationships who reported increased mental health due to the increased social support provided by partners . Increases in self-esteem and individual well-being have also been associated with romantic involvement .

Mental illness will not be a common cause of relationship dissolution for most college students. Existing literature has empathized that-as mentioned above-relationships improve the mental health of partners. Thus, respondents would be less likely than their single counterparts to suffer from mental illness or break up because of their context [42,43].

2.1. Participants

The authors developed a 43-item survey approved by the Institutional Review Board at a public university in the southeastern United States and posted it online in the fall of 2019. Students in the third author's Courtship and ily course, were emailed the link and asked to complete the survey. Sociology colleagues/faculty also sent the survey link to the students in their introductory courses. Questions regarding gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, religiosity, and life-satisfaction preceded questions about the respondents' mental health status and roman tic relationships. A total of 277 students initially completed the survey, providing a response rate of approximately 86%. After removing respondents from the sample who both reported that they were not undergraduate students at the time of the survey or who did not report information on the main dependent variable-mental health diagnoses-the survey sample consisted of 267 students.

2.2.1. Relationship Formation

Relationship formation was measured by asking respondents to agree or disagree with the following statement: “I prefer to have a relationship in which my partner does not have mental health issues” using a 5-point Likert scale in which 1 = Strongly Disagree and 5 = Strongly Agree.

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