Problem Statement: The complex nature of romantic relationships, in general, makes the continuation of these relationships a challenge. This situation is even more problematic in traditional societies, as social norms for these relations are more strict and more disciplinarian. University students want to be in romantic relationships due to their current state of development. However, when they decide to be in a relationship, they meet a variety of social pressures; some even feel guilt as a result of the negative connotations attached to relationships. This situation affects satisfaction in romantic relationships, causes irrational beliefs and may lead to abuse in relationships. The purpose of this study is to determine whether university students’ irrational beliefs are related to and a predictor of problem-solving behavior in their romantic relationships.
Methods:This study was conducted among 320 students from the Ondokuz Mayis University, Faculty of Education. The Relationship Belief Inventory (RBI) and Problem Solving Scale in Romantic Relationships for Adolescents (PSSRR-A) were employed during data collection. Data was analyzed using the SPSS 15 statistical package.
Findings and Results:Pearson correlation analysis results showed a positive correlation between beliefs of helplessness and physical (r= .148, p<.01) and emotional abuse(r= .250, p<.05), but showed a significant negative correlation between beliefs of helplessness and problem solving. Also, beliefs of being unlovable and physical (r= .198, p<.01) and emotional abuse (r= .123, p<.05) correlated positively, while there was a significant negative correlation between beliefs of being unlovable and problem solving (r= -.165, p<.01). In addition, the results of the stepwise multiple regression analysis indicated that beliefs of helplessness are a positively correlated predictor of emotional abuse (R²= 0.062, t=4.603, p<0.001) and a negatively correlated predictor of problem solving (R²= 0.057, t= -4.384, p<0.001). Likewise, beliefs of being unlovable are a positively correlated predictor (R²= 0.39, t=3.611 p< 0.01) of physical abuse.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Irrational beliefs of university students in romantic relationship are associated with physical and emotional abuse and problem-solving behaviors in their relationships and can also be a predictor of abusive behavior. Because abuse in young people's romantic relationships has became more widespread, sometimes threatening the physical and mental health of partners, these findings may help provide more effective psychological help for those suffering such abuses. The findings show that professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, etc.), especially those dealing with university students' psychological health, need to focus on students’ irrational beliefs when dealing with abuse.
Keywords: Irrational beliefs about romantic relationships, students, helplessness, unlovability, problem solving, abuse.