We compared the romantic relationships of emerging adults with type 1 diabetes to those without type 1 diabetes. We examined whether there were group differences in romantic relationships and relationship quality and whether aspects of romantic relationships were connected to psychological and diabetes health. Emerging adults (mean age 27 years) with (n = 88) and without (n = 99) type 1 diabetes took part in the study. Participants completed an online questionnaire that assessed romantic relationships, psychological health, and diabetes health. Results showed that males with type 1 diabetes were significantly less likely than males without diabetes and either group of females to be involved in a romantic relationship. Among those in a relationship, there were no group differences in relationship quality. For both groups, being in a relationship was associated with less loneliness and greater life satisfaction. Among those in a romantic relationship, the quality of the relationship was more strongly related to psychological outcomes for those with than for those without diabetes. There was modest evidence that relationship quality was linked to better diabetes outcomes. When partner supportive and unsupportive diabetes interactions were examined, there was more evidence that unsupportive interactions were harmful (i.e., related to worse psychological and diabetes outcomes) than there was evidence that supportive interactions were beneficial. These findings underscore the importance of romantic relationships for health among emerging adults in general and suggest that there may be an even greater impact for those with type 1 diabetes.

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