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Relationship science has established itself as a multidisciplinary science dedicated to the study of interpersonal relationships. Relationship scientists can take justifiable pride in the knowledge base that has been created, in the varied applications that follow from existing research and theory, and in the infrastructure that can promote future development of the field. At the same time, relationship science is still at a relatively early stage of development; much remains to be done if the field is to achieve the status and impact of a mature, relevant, and interdisciplinary science. In this chapter, we describe the current status of the field, and we discuss seven broad challenges that the field faces. We suggest that forward progress in advancing knowledge and developing effective interventions will depend on our willingness and ability to address these challenges.
Few people enter intimate relationships for the intended purpose of avoiding conflict, yet much of the existing literature on maintaining intimacy focuses on preventing or overcoming destructive patterns of communication and interaction. This work has made numerous important contributions to knowledge and interventions, but it addresses only one side of the relevant relationship processes, namely the aversive side. In this chapter, we propose that the appetitive side -- the processes that describe how people pursue positively valenced goals -- provides a unique and informative window on intimacy. The appetitive side of intimacy reflects not merely the absence of aversive factors, but rather a unique set of processes and phenomena. We review several examples that show how appetitive processes contribute to the development and maintenance of intimacy, and we discuss how each of them can suggest novel approaches to intervention. In a broader sense, the goal of the chapter is to stimulate contemporary theorizing and intervention strategies to elaborate and incorporate not only the processes that make romantic relationships deteriorate but also the processes that allow them to thrive.
How can we get the most out of our close relationships? Research in the area of personal relationships continues to grow, but most prior work has emphasized how to overcome negative aspects. This volume demonstrates that a good relationship is more than simply the absence of a bad relationship, and that establishing and maintaining optimal relationships entails enacting a set of processes that are distinct from merely avoiding negative or harmful behaviors. Drawing on recent relationship science to explore issues such as intimacy, attachment, passion, sacrifice, and compassionate goals, the essays in this volume emphasize the positive features that allow relationships to flourish. In doing so, they integrate several theoretical perspectives, concepts, and mechanisms that produce optimal relationships. The volume also includes a section on intensive and abbreviated interventions that have been empirically validated to be effective in promoting the positive features of close relationships.
This indispensable sourcebook covers conceptual and practical issues in research design in the field of social and personality psychology. Key experts address specific methods and areas of research, contributing to a comprehensive overview of contemporary practice. This updated and expanded second edition offers current commentary on social and personality psychology, reflecting the rapid development of this dynamic area of research over the past decade. With the help of this up-to-date text, both seasoned and beginning social psychologists will be able to explore the various tools and methods available to them in their research as they craft experiments and imagine new methodological possibilities.