Social Representations of the Marriage Partner: a Generational Approach



Objective. Comparison of the marriage partner social representations of representatives of generations Y, X and Baby Boomers. Background. The sphere of marriage and romantic relationships is influenced by transformational processes in society. The romanticization of loneliness, the postponement of marriages and the births causes the interest in the study of social representations about the marriage partner of post-student youth. Study design. The article examines the possible connection between social representations of a marriage partner and the family role positioning on the one hand, and the content about romantic relationships that respondents browse in social networks, on the other. The Kraskal-Wallace H criterion was used to check existence and sort of possible connection. Participants. Sample: 525 people, including Millennials — 192 people, representatives of generation X — 176 and baby boomers — 157. Measurements. Author’s questionnaire of social representations about marriage and marriage partner; questionnaire “Marriage Role Expectations and Claims” by A. Volkova; set of questions about usage of social networks and other communication channels. Results. The core of social representations about the marriage partner and the periphery close to the core change slightly from generation to generation. With the growth of respondents’ life experience increases the willingness to accept complex life circumstances and the perception of relationship as a process that requires permanent effort. Conclusions. Problematic trends in family and marriage relations are presumably the result of sociocultural changes, rather than social representations of the marriage partner.

General Information

Keywords: social representations, romantic relationships, marriage partner, generations, Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, social networks

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The work performed as part of the State task of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation № 0138-2021-0010 “Psychology of a collective subject in the changing conditions of joint livelihoods”.

For citation: Emelyanova T.P., Shmidt D.A. Social Representations of the Marriage Partner: a Generational Approach . Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2021. Vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 126–142. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2021120109. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)



1.        Astakhova Yu.G., Agasaryan M.V. Sotsiologiya sem’I [Sociology of the family]. Uchebnoe posobie. Lipetsk, 2012. 67 p. (In Russ.)

2.        Bauman Z. Retrotopiya [Retrotopia]. Moscow: VTSIOM, 2019. 160 p. (In Russ.)

3.        Vanyukhina N.V., Semenova-Polyakh G.G. Psikhologicheskaya gotovnost’ molodezhi k brachno-semeinym otnosheniyam: sravnitel’nyi aspect [Psychological readiness of young people for marriage and family relations: comparative aspect]. ANI: pedagogika i psikhologiya = ANI: Pedagogy and Psychology, 2017. Vol. 6, no. 1(18), pp. 306—309. (In Russ.)

4.        Volkova A.N. Metodicheskie priemy diagnostiki supruzheskikh zatrudnenii [Methodological methods for diagnosing marital difficulties]. Voprosy psikhologii = Question of Psychology, 1985, no. 5, pp. 110—116. (In Russ.)

5.        Grishai V.N., Zenin K.A. K voprosu o vosproizvodstve sotsial’nykh tendentsii v kontekste teorii pokolenii [On the issue of reproduction of social trends in the context of the theory of generations]. Vestnik AGU = Vestnik ASU, 2018, no. 2(219), pp. 88—93. (In Russ.)

6.        Egorova N.Yu., Voronin G.L. Model’ opredeleniya formy supruzhestva: sotsial’no-demograficheskie faktory [Model of determining the form of marriage: socio-demographic factors]. Vestnik Nizhegorodskogo universiteta im. N.I. Lobachevskogo. Seriya: Sotsial’nye nauki = Bulletin of the Lobachevsky University of Nizhny Novgorod. Series: Social Sciences, 2017, no. 3(47), pp. 71—78. (In Russ.).

7.        Emel’yanova T. P., Shmidt D. A. Partnerskie otnosheniya v brake: reprezentatsii dvukh pokolenii [Partnership in marriage: representations of two generations]. Vestnik RGGU. Seriya «Psikhologiya. Pedagogika. Obrazovanie» = RSUH/RGGU Bulletin. “Psyсhology. Pedagogics. Education” Series, 2019, no. 4, pp. 63—79. DOI:10.28995/2073-6398-2019-4-63-79 (In Russ.)

8.        Emel’yanova T. P., Shmidt D. A. Romanticheskie otnosheniya i brak v sotsial’nykh predstavleniyakh pokolenii millenialov i bebi-bumerov [Romantic relationships and marriage in the social representations of Millennials and baby boomers]. Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo oblastnogo universiteta. Seriya: Psikhologicheskie nauki = Bulletin of the Moscow State Regional University. Series: Psychological Sciences, 2019, no. 1, pp. 29—43. DOI:10.18384/2310-7235-2019- 1-29-43 (In Russ.)

9.        Emel’yanova T.P., Shmidt D.A. Romanticheskie otnosheniya i gotovnost’ k braku, reprezentiruemye internet-soobshchestvami (opyt analiza vizual’nykh soobshchenii) [Romantic relationships and readiness for marriage, represented by Internet communities (experience in analyzing visual messages)]. Sotsial’naya i ekonomicheskaya psikhologiya. Chast’ 2: Novye nauchnye napravleniya = Social and Economic Psychology. Part 2: New scientific directions, 2018, pp. 321—336. (In Russ.)

10.    Orlova I.N., Dontsov D.A. O sotsial’no-psikhologicheskoi gotovnosti sovremennoi rossiiskoi studencheskoi molodezhi k braku i sozdaniyu sem’I [About the socio-psychological readiness of modern Russian students to marry and start a family]. Sotsial’naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2012, no. 3, pp. 58—71. (In Russ.).

11.    Panfilova Yu.M. Opredelenie napravlennosti vo vzaimodeistvii s partnerom v nezaregistrirovannom brake [Determination of orientation in interaction with a partner in an unregistered marriage]. Izvestiya Irkutskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya Psikhologiya = News of Irkutsk State University. Psychology Series, 2020. Vol. 32, pp. 31—43. (In Russ.).

12.    Pishchik V.I. Pokoleniya: sotsial’no-psikhologicheskii analiz mental’nosti [Generations: socio-psychological analysis of mentality]. Sotsial’naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2011, no. 2, pp. 80—88. (In Russ.).

13.    Pishchik V.I. Tsennostnye izmereniya pokolenii cherez aktualiziruemye strakhi [Value measurements of generations through actualized fears]. Sotsial’naia psikhologiia i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2019. Vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 67—81. (In Russ.). DOI:10.17759/sps.2019100206

14.    Potemkina K.V., Shestero Yu.V. Psikhologicheskaya gotovnost’ k semeinoi zhizni yunoshei i devushek studencheskogo vozrasta [Psychological readiness for family life of young men and girls of student age]. Nauchno-metodicheskii elektronnyi zhurnal «Kontsept» = Scientific and Methodological Electronic Journal “Concept”, 2017. Vol. 12, pp. 38—44. Available at: (Accessed 07.08.2020). (In Russ.).

15.    Rikel A.M. Pokolenie kak ob”ekt izucheniya sotsial’noi psikhologii: issledovanie na «svoem pole» ili na «nich’ei zemle»? [Generation as a social-psychological research object: playing at home or an away match?] Sotsial’naia psikhologiia i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2019. Vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 9—18. (In Russ.). DOI:10.17759/sps.2019100202 (In Russ.).

16.    Soldatova E.L. Semeinye tsennosti kak osnova mezhpokolennoi kommunikatsii [Family values as the basis of intergenerational communication]. In Sitnikov V.L., Burkova S.A., Dunaevskaya E.B. (ed.) Sem’ya i sovremennyi sotsium, seriya: sem’ya i deti v sovremennom mire = Family and Modern Society, Series: Family and Children in the Modern World. Saint-Petersburg: «Sotsial’nogumanitarnoe znanie», 2017, pp. 104—109. (In Russ.).

17.    Sorokina T.Ju. Osobennosti brachno-semejnyh ustanovok studencheskoj molodezhi. Diss. kand. psikhol. Nauk [Features of marriage and family attitudes of students. PhD Sci. (Psychology) diss.]. Samara, 2007. 240 p.

18.    Shamis E., Nikonov E. Rugenerations — rossiiskaya shkola teorii pokolenii. Milleniumy (Y) [Elektronnyi resurs] [Rugenerations — Russian school of generational theory. Millennials (Y)]. Available at: / (Accessed: 24.06.2020). (In Russ.).

19.    Abric J.-Cl. La notion de noyau central: bilans et perspectives actuelles. Actes de la Cinquième conférence internationale sur les représentations sociales. Montréal, 2000, pp. 87—88.

20.     Bauer M.W., Gaskell G. Biotechnology — the making of a global controversy. Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 528—531.

21.    Gervais M.-C. Social representations of nature: the case of the ‘Braer’ oil spill in Shetland. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science, 1997. 336 p.

22.    Howe N., Strauss W. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. New York: Vintage Books, 2000. 432 p.

23.    Moscovici S. The phenomenon of social representations. In Farr M., Moscovici S. (eds.). Social representations. Cambridge-Paris: CUP, 1984, pp. 3—69.

24.    Sartawi M. Exploring stability and change through social representations: towards an understanding of religious communities. In Sammut G., Andreouli E., Gaskell G., Valsiner J. (eds). The Cambridge Handbook of Social Representations. Cambridge, 2015, pp. 341—357.

25.    Strauss W., Howe N. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy — What The Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny. N.Y.: Broadway, Great Falls, 1997. 357 р.


Information About the Authors

Tatiana P. Emelyanova, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Principal Researcher in the Laboratory of Social and Economic Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Daria A. Shmidt, Graduate of postgraduate studies, Moscow University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 1138
Previous month: 17
Current month: 4


Total: 810
Previous month: 17
Current month: 4