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6 - Close Relationships across the Life Span: Toward a Theory of Relationship Types

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2009

Frieder R. Lang
Affiliation:
Martin Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenburg, Germany
Karen L. Fingerman
Affiliation:
Purdue University, Indiana
Keiko Takahashi
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of the Sacred Heart, 4-3-1 Hiroo Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8938, Japan
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Summary

In this chapter I discuss how to conceptualize and study individual patterns of close relationships consisting of multiple significant others. The discussion consists of three parts. First, I review previous research on close relationships to clarify which aspects of social relationships have already been studied and which have not been fully understood. Then I use the affective relationships model to examine how the important, but not sufficiently studied, aspects of social relationships from young childhood to old age can be conceptualized. Finally, I discuss the effectiveness of the typological analysis of this model and future directions of this research.

THE NATURE OF CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS

From the time they are born into society, humans are exposed to a variety of social relationships, and are naturally directed toward having interactions with multiple significant others for their survival, safety, and well-being. However, most researchers have focused on dyadic relationships, such as with the mother in infancy (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Bretherton & Waters, 1985; Cassidy & Shaver, 1999; Kobak & Hazan, 1991), with a friend in childhood (Dodge, Pettit, McClasky, & Brown, 1986; Jones & Vaughan, 1990; Parker & Gottman, 1989; Urberg, Degirmencioglu, Tolson, & Halliday-Scher, 1995), and with a romantic partner in adolescence and adulthood (Hazen & Shaver, 1987, 1990; Shaver, Hazen, & Bradshaw, 1988).

Type
Chapter
Information
Growing Together
Personal Relationships Across the Life Span
, pp. 130 - 158
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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