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13 - Relational Competence across the Life Span

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
Robert O. Hansson
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Tulsa, 600 South College, Lorton Hall 307, Tulsa, OK 74104
Eric L. Daleiden
Affiliation:
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Div., Hawaii Department of Health, 3627 Kilauea Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816
Bert Hayslip Jr.
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, P.O. Box 311280, Denton, TX 76203-1280
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Summary

Important personal relationships can at times become stressed, conflicted, unpredictable, and a poor fit to our needs. At such times, adaptation depends largely on one's ability to successfully access, initiate, develop, and maintain support relationships. The chapter describes the theoretical and empirical efforts that led to the formulation of a two-component model of “relational competence,” emphasizing competencies and perspectives relevant to the initiation and enhancement of relationships. We examine developmental processes characteristic of populations ranging in age from infancy to late life, with an eye to (a) the nature and development of relational competence, (b) links to early developmental phenomena such as temperament, attachment, and self-concept, and to (c) psychological processes in adulthood such as hardiness, resilience, and adaptation to dependency.

From the beginning, relationships shape and influence our lives. They provide nurturance, security, support, and companionship. They are our inspiration, our links to the broader social world, and the contexts for our emotional and cognitive development.

Yet the nature and composition of our relationships and the functions they serve tend to change across the life span. Unfortunately, personal relationships can also become problematic. At each phase of development, important peer, friendship, and support relationships can become stressed, conflicted, overwhelmed, unpredictable, and a “poor fit” to one's needs. Our personal and support relationships cannot, therefore, always be taken for granted. Such events present complex adaptive challenges for those in need of a support network, and the ability to successfully cope with these “relational challenges” varies considerably across individuals.

Type
Chapter
Information
Growing Together
Personal Relationships Across the Life Span
, pp. 317 - 340
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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  • Relational Competence across the Life Span
    • By Robert O. Hansson, Department of Psychology, University of Tulsa, 600 South College, Lorton Hall 307, Tulsa, OK 74104, Eric L. Daleiden, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Div., Hawaii Department of Health, 3627 Kilauea Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816, Bert Hayslip, Jr., Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, P.O. Box 311280, Denton, TX 76203-1280
  • Frieder R. Lang, Martin Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenburg, Germany, Karen L. Fingerman, Purdue University, Indiana
  • Book: Growing Together
  • Online publication: 02 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511499852.013
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  • Relational Competence across the Life Span
    • By Robert O. Hansson, Department of Psychology, University of Tulsa, 600 South College, Lorton Hall 307, Tulsa, OK 74104, Eric L. Daleiden, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Div., Hawaii Department of Health, 3627 Kilauea Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816, Bert Hayslip, Jr., Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, P.O. Box 311280, Denton, TX 76203-1280
  • Frieder R. Lang, Martin Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenburg, Germany, Karen L. Fingerman, Purdue University, Indiana
  • Book: Growing Together
  • Online publication: 02 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511499852.013
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Relational Competence across the Life Span
    • By Robert O. Hansson, Department of Psychology, University of Tulsa, 600 South College, Lorton Hall 307, Tulsa, OK 74104, Eric L. Daleiden, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Div., Hawaii Department of Health, 3627 Kilauea Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816, Bert Hayslip, Jr., Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, P.O. Box 311280, Denton, TX 76203-1280
  • Frieder R. Lang, Martin Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenburg, Germany, Karen L. Fingerman, Purdue University, Indiana
  • Book: Growing Together
  • Online publication: 02 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511499852.013
Available formats
×