92 terms

Adult development and aging-Chapter 9-Relationships

*Changes in the broader society of the country and world heavily impact the nature of individual relationships.
Marriage and intimate relationships
*Marriage never seems to wane in the popular imagination.
*Even as the definition of marriage continues to evolve, the statistics on its success rate prove to be discouraging as ever for those who contemplate legalizing their own union with a partner.
*As a social institution, this is defined as a legally sanctioned union between a man and a woman (in most US Sates).

1) People who are married partake in many benefits such as finances, health care, housing, retirement, death benefits, etc)
2) People who are not legally married are not automatically entitled to the benefits available to those who are.
3) The definition of marriage includes no mention of the emotional connection with each other.
Marriage facts
1) % of population currently married
-121.7 million adults were married and living with their spouse, 50% of the population 18 and older

2) % married at least once by age 55

3) Median age of marriage
*Men = 28.1
*women = 25.9

4) Effect of marriage on mortality
-9-15% reduction
-greater in countries from Europe and North America compared to Israel and countries from Asia.

5) Rates of marriage by race/ethnicity
*Lowest (34%) Blacks
*Highest (62%) Asians
*Middle (56%) Whites
Marriage stats
*Among people 65 and older in the US
1) 72% of men
2) 42% of women
-married and living with a spouse.

*Women over the age of 65
1) twice as likely (39%)
2) as men (19%) to be living alone.

*Older women are a greater risk for some of the disadvantages that come with single status, including fewer financial resources, less access to care, and lower social support.
*Defined by living in a stable relationship prior to or instead of marrying.

1) Since the 1960s there has been a steady increase in the number of couples who choose this lifestyle
-439,000 (1960)
-6.7 million (2009)

2) 50 to 60% of all marriages are now preceded by cohabitation.

3) Approximately 28% of women 44 and under who cohabit ate eventually marry their partner.

4) Along with the rise in the overall number of couples who cohabitate is a parallel increase in the number go cohabitating adults with children under the age of 15.
-197,000 (1960)
-2.6 million (2009)
Cohabitation effect
*The greater likelihood of divorce among couples who cohabitate before they become engaged
Explanation for cohabitation effect
*Couples who would not have gotten married "slide" into marriage through inertia; the fact that they were already living together becomes the basis for entering into a marriage even if the fit between the two partners is not all that good.
Same sex couples
1) Was first legalized in the US by the commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2004

2) Now legalized in Vermont, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Iowa, New Hampshire

3) California rejected its legality in 2008 (prop 8)
-Other US states are considering the similar legislation.

4) Around the world, gay marriage is considered legal in seven countries.
-Canada, Belgium, Norway, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, and South Africa.

5) As of 2009, 485,000 adults in the US lived with a same sex partner

6) 1.6% of same sex partners involves people of two or more races.

7) SF, Seattle, Portland are the cities with the highest same-sex partnerships.

8) 34% of lesbian couples and 22% of gay male couples who lived together have children.

9) There is a greater sharing of household tasks among lesbian and gay couples.
Divorce and Remarriage
1) Approximately 10% of the adult population in the US is divorced. (rates are falling)

2) The average length of the first marriage prior to divorce is about 8 years

3) Black women between the ages 25 and 44 have higher divorce rates than White or Hispanic women.

4) Women that have divorced parents have a stronger indicator of a lack of commitment and confidence in the marriage.

5) For many people, child custody arrangements present the most significant challenge caused by their altered status as a family.
Factors that are thought to account for the decrease in the divorce rates:
1) People are marrying at later ages

2) The previously skyrocketing divorce rates increased consciousness in society about the need for prevention
-premarital education had higher levels of marital satisfaction, lower levels of conflict, and reduced odds of divorce.

3) Second marriages are less likely to engage in premarital education.
Psychological aspects of divorce
1) Practical consequences
2) Child custody
3) Lower psychological health
4) Poorer health
5) Problems with substance abuse
6) More negative life events
7) Higher mortality rates
8) Less satisfying sex lives
9) More negative life events

*Divorced or widowed adults who do not remarry are in poorer health (including chronic and depressive symptoms) than those who remarry.
Divorce statistics (why they are so high)
1) Those who divorce in a given year are generally not the same people as those who have gotten married, so the number of divorces cannot simply be compared with the number of marriages to determine the odds of divorcing.

2) Divorce rate in any given year includes those people who are divorcing for a second or third time, people who tend to have a higher divorce rate than those who are getting a first divorce.

3) Number of people in the population of marriageable age, which itself is influenced by birth and death rates.
-In the US 18% of all marriages are second marriages
-4% are third marriages.
*The average duration of a second marriage that ends in divorce is slighting longer than a first marriage-8 years for men and 9 years for women.
*The probability of a second marriage ending in divorce after 10 years in .39 (.33 for first marriage).
Divorce proneness
*People who are more likely to contemplate divorce when their marriage is in throttle are said to be high on this facet.
*These individuals are also more likely to have an extramarital affair.
*Those that are high on divorce proneness may have a long history of difficulties in the area of intimacy.

*Approximately 1 million new children each year are affected by divorce, a figure that has remained constant since 1980
Divorce and mediation
1) mediation is increasingly being seen as an effective means of reducing conflict and hence improving children's adjustment.
2) Conflict significantly declined, particularly in the first year after divorce, among couples who participated in mediation.
Widowhood Stats
1) In the US 14.3 million widowed adults ages 18 and older; 77% are 65 and older

2) The majority (81%) of the over 65 widowed adults are women.

3) The majority of women are widows (76)

4) Men (38%) are widowed

5) The highest rate of widowhood is among Black women 85 and older, among whom the large majority (87.5%) have lost their spouses.
*Adaptation to widowhood is influenced by the individuals previous psychological well-being.

1) Men seem particularly more vulnerable to depression after the death of their wives.

2) Without remarriage, their levels of well being may not return to preexisting levels even for as long as 8 years after their suppose has died.

3) Among both men and women, anniversary reactions may continue for 35 years o longer following the spouse's death.
The Widowhood Effect
*There is a greater probability of death in those who have become widowed compared to those who are married.
*This effect is stronger in men
*People who become widows in later life also have a higher risk of suffering weightless, a trend that is common in blacks.
How to reduce the widowhood effect
1) Neighborhoods with a high concentration of widows, presumably because there are more opportunities for social interaction among clusters of widowed individuals.
Dangerous behaviors that widows engage in:
1) Eating poorly
2) Less physical activity
3) More likely to smoke (long term widows)
Psychological perspectives on long-term relationships
1) Whether the relationship is called "marriage" "family" "friendship" or "partnership" is not as important as the feeling that one is valued by others and has something to offer to improve the life of other people.

2) The earliest sociological explanations of relationship satisfaction across the years of marriage attempted to relate the quality of marital interactions to the presence of children in the home and their ages.
Socioemotional selectivity theory
*Structure relationships to maximize gains and minimize risks

1) Older couples experience more positive affect with each other.
2) They would rather spend time with their marital partner and family rather than invest their energies into meeting new people.
3) The regard their closest relationships with the most potential to serve emotional functions because their experiences over the years has allowed them to grow closer and more able to understand and respond to each others needs.
Social Exchange Theory
1) Relationships are evaluated according to costs and benefits.
2) Attempts to predict the stability and dissolution of social relationships in terms of rewards and costs of an interaction.
3) According to this theory, people continue in relationships when they perceive that the rewards of remaining in the relationship outweigh the rewards associated with its alternatives.
4) When the balance shifts so that the rewards no longer outweigh the costs, one or both partners will innate a breakup.
5) Over time, this theory predicts that the intrinsic rewards of being in a relationship if not dependency on the partner increase to the point that the attractiveness of the alternatives to being with them, fade.
Support of the social exchange theory
1) Researchers find that the earning potential of a young woman is becoming more important in determining their desirability in mates.

2) However, still some very traditional determinants of what makes men happy (in early years of marriage)
-Good looks
-A pleasing disposition
-Dependable character
Equity Theory
1) Balance is sought between what each contributes to the relationship.
2) In which the cost-benefit analysis in the relationship occurs specifically when evaluating the benefits that each partner brings to the relationship.
3) People become increasingly dissatisfied when the partners perceive that there is some form of imbalance in how much each brings to the relationship.
4) This theory seems to apply well to people who are in the early stages of a relationship and are deciding whether or not to build further ties with each other.
The behavioral approach to marital interactions
1) Emphasizes the actual behaviors that partners engage in with each other during marital interactions as an influence on marital stability and quality
2) According to this perspective, people will be more satisfied in along term relationship when their partners engage in positive or rewarding behaviors (such as expressing affection).
3) Punishing or negative behaviors (such as criticism or abuse) decrease satisfaction.
4) Couples may be mismatched in their conflict style (avoidant vs. highly reactive)
Gottman & colleagues study on relationship satisfaction
1) Couples whose marriages were described as "passionless" (that is they showed neither positive or negative affect) ultimately stayed married longer than couples who were more volatile emotionally during their early years of marriage, who tended to divorce earlier.
2) However, an emotionally black relationship was a high risk factor for the relationship's ending.
3) Emotional volatility is not necessarily desirable, but neither is a complete lack of positive affect.
Building block if intimacy (Gottman & colleagues)
1) "bids" for connection with partner.
2) Conflict increases when a partner either turns away tom or turns against a partner who is trying to make an emotional connection.
3) Women seemed particularly sensitive to effect go their bids for connection because the husbands response to his wife played a stronger role in escalating or deescalating conflict than did her response to him.
Conflict and relationships and health
1) Conflict is detrimental to the relationship and to the health of each partner.
2) Researchers investigating the impact of marital discord on various measures of well-being found that even for individuals in their later years, couples who were constantly in conflict with each other suffered higher levels of depression, anxiety, lower levels of self esteem, and life satisfaction.
The need for complimentary hypothesis
1) People seek and are more satisfied with marital partners who are the opposite of themselves.
2) Evidence seems to favor the opposite viewpoint
The similarity hypothesis
1) Proposes that similarity of personality and values predicts both initial interpersonal attraction and satisfaction within long-term relationships.
2) In one 13 year long story, researchers found that couples who perceived each other as higher in agreeableness than they actually were in reality were more in love during the early stages of marriage and more likely to remain in love over time.
*The transformation of a marriage into a "family" traditionally is thought to occur when a child enters the couple's life on a permanent basis.
Family living situations
1) Large majorities of households in the US (77%) consist of people living together as a family.
2) In the US, the average household size is 2.57 people.
3) Households with married couples constitute 53.6% of all households
Blended families
*Also known as reconstituted families.
1) Within these living situations, at least one adult is living with a child who is not a biological child of that adult.
2) Often these situation develop after a divorce and remarriage (or cohabitation)
3) Some evidence suggests that these relationships are more stressful in the case of mothers and stepchildren than between fathers and stepchildren.
The transition to parenthood
*From a biopsychosocial perspective this event involves
1) Biological changes: When the mothers bears the children
2) Psychological changes: Include the emotional highs and lows associated with first-time parenthood for both parents.
3) Social changes: Involve the new role that adults acquire when they become parents, altering their status with other family members and the community,
4) Sociocultural there are also social expectations for parents, expectations that typically reflect social norms for men and women as fathers and mothers.

*Although biological factors recede in importance, psychological effects and social changes continue, in effect, for the rest of an individual's life.
Stats and parenthood
1) 4.3 million women in the US give birth each year.
2) In the US in 2006, 75% of all children were born to mothers between the ages of 20-34
3) In 2008, the number and rate of births fell from its high point reached in 2007, reflecting the downturn in the economy.
-exception to this trend was for women in the 40s who were unable to wait any longer.

*Much of the literature on parenthood and its effects on adults is based on studies from tradition two-parent families.
-the most significant changes take place during this crucial time.
The original impetus for studies on the transition to parenthood
*Was provided by the consistent finding showing that marital satisfaction dips during the child rearing years, a drop-off particularly marked for women.
1) Following the birth of a new child, new parents displayed steeper rates of relationship decline compared with couples without children.
2) not all couples experience this decline in relationship satisfaction
3) There can be compensating factors as well as pleasure derived from co-parenting particularly when the pre birth marital was high.

*The change is allocation of household tasks associated with children accounts for the dissatisfaction with wives.
Predictors of women's satisfaction during the transition to parenthood
1) "Doing gender"
2) Attachment style
3) Self-efficacy toward begin a parent
4) Expectations and feelings of competence
Doing gender
1) When a woman earns more money than her husband, this sets up a dynamic that violates normative expectations
2) Rather than doing 50% or less of the household duties, the wife actually takes on the majority of household duties, in the process enacting traditional gender expectations for women.
3) if the women perceived the share of labor as unfair, the stage is set for both she and her husband to become psychologically more distressed.
4) Women who are more likely to ease into their new roles as mothers have psycholgical characteristics suh as enjoying family work, are oriented toward family in terms of overall likfe goals, feel good in their new role, and do not view the unequal division of labor as unfair.
Same sex couples and gender roles
1) Feelings of love tend to decrease and the amount of conflict tends to increase acrpss the parentohood transition.
2) As is also true with heterosexual couples, lesibian couples report that they have less time to spend with each other and are more stressed by the new roles they have teaken on as parents.
Attachment style and women's adjustment to parenthood:
1) Women with ambivalent attachment styles became less satisfied with their marriages if they believed that their husbands ni longer supported them emotionally.
-worse if they felt theis was from the beginning of the relationship.
Experiences with one's own parents in relation to adjustment through the transition to parenthood:
1) Couples becoming first time parents revealed that if they recalled the marriages of their own parents as unhappy, their evaluation of their own marital equality was also more negative
-and vice versa.
2) Fathers with insecure attachment styles had more negative interactions when the couple had experienced a high number of negatively escalating arguments.
Factors that can lead to positive outcomes
1) High self efficacy in women and optimism about their parenting role tended to weather the transition more favoriably.
-after becoming mothers they experienced fewer depressive symptoms than women with lower expectations and feelings of competence about their role.

2) Fatherhood is increasingly being studied as an aspect of identity in adulthood reflecting , in part, the increasing role of fathers in the raising of their children.
-Fathers relationships change with their family, community, and people around them with eevry child, but mostly with the first born.

3) The extent to which a single father is able to adjust to the role of solo parent is affected by the characteristics of the children, including their age and gender, and his own characteristics, including his age and educational level.

4) Overall, single fathers spend less time caring for their children than do single mothers, but more than do married fathers.
The empty nest
*When the couples children depart the home

1) For many years, the common belief was that the empty nest would be an unwelcome change, particularly for women.

2) The positive feelings that parents experience with the departure of their youngest child include a sense of personal growth, more leisure time, improved marital relations, and feelings of mastery.

3) Women who married after the age of 50 found a shift away from an emphasis on sexual intercourse to greater valuing of other expressions of intimacy, such as cuddling, companionship, and affection.

4) The empty nest may have some advantages in keeping a couples sexual relationship alive and wehn children do return home for whatever reason, the couples sexual relationship may decline in terms of frequency.
Predictors of sexual activity within the past 12 months for midlife women (Canadian study)
1) age
2) marital status
3) race
4) income
5) alcohol use
6) smoking
7) empty nest status
Adult parent-child relationships
1) As children have their own families, they begin to gain greater insight into the role of being a parent.

2) Another changing feature of the relationship stems from the child's increasing concern that parents will require help and support as they grow older.

3) Adult children and their parents may also find that they do not agree on various aspects of life, from an overall philosphy and set of values to specific behaviors.

4) Majority of adult children state they feel close to their parents (56%).

5) 38% see their relationships as ambivalent

4) 6% see them as problematic

5) For older adults, adult parent-child relationships can play a vital role in well-being, with regard to the devlopment of generativity and particularly for women.
"Boomerang" and KIPPERS/Kidults children
1) There are a growing number of adult children living with their parents (ages 25-34)
2) Associated with the economic downturn of the late 2000s.
3) One Canadian survey reported cultural differences in the tendency of parents and young adult children to live together, with Asian and Latin American born parents most likely to host their 20-24 years olds.
Parents frustration levels with children who live at home vs children who do not live at home:
1) 8% with live-in children
2) 4% with children who did not live at home.

*The parents of children living at home also reported more conflict about money, the children themselves, and the distribution of labor in the household responsibilites.

*Situation seems more negative with boomerang children compared with children who never left the home, particularly as mothers are likely to resent the fact that they are losing some of the freedom they gained when their children initially left the home.

3) Boomerang parents are less likely to say that their children made them happier (54%) vs (68%) for non-boomerang parents.

4) A larger % of parents are happier with with their time spent with offspring (64%) for children that live at home vs (49%) for children that do not live at home.
Developmental Schism
*Emotioanl gap between parents and children.
*Applying ususally to mothers and daughters

1) One manifestation of the developmental schism is the mothers' tendency to regard her daughter as more important than the daughter does the mother and for the daughter to regard the mother as more instrusive than the mother does the daughter.

2) Mothers are also more likely to regard their daughters as confidants than daughters do their mothers.

3) The daughter still seeks the approval of the mother and feels guilty when she feels that she is not living up to her mothers expectations for her.
Role reversal
*Discredited view that parents and children switch roles.
*Discreditied among gerentologists, parents and their adult children switch responsibilites

1) The child becomes the parent when the parent undergoes physical, cognitive, and social changes.

2) This concept is no longer considered valid because there is a great deal of data showing that most adult children and their parents have reciprocal relationships and that the flow of help goes in two directions.
Filial maturity
*Developmental changes in children.

1) By early adulthood, particularly in the 30s, taking on the responsibilites and status of an adult (employment, parenthood, involvement in the community), the child begins to identify with the parent.

2) Eventually, the parent and child relate to each other more like equals.
Filial anxiety
*This fear of having to take care of the parent/s.

1) People living in US and Western industrilized nations are most likely to experience this anxiety because prevailing social values stress independence and the nuclear family.
Filial obligation (piety)
*This feeling of being commited to taking care of parents should this become necessary.

1) In other cultures, notable hispanic, Asian, and Black AMerican children have this attitude.

2) There are long standing traditions within the Black and Hispanic communities to define the extended family rather than the nuclear family as the basic family unit.

3) Modernization in China may be eroding this cultural norm.
Concepts in adult parent-child relationships
1) Developmental schism
2) Role reversal
3) Filial maturity
4) Filial anxiety
5) Filial obligation (piety)
1) Consists of providing assistance in carrying out the tasks of everyday life to an infirm older adult.

2) Since the early 1980s, the coclusion has been that the caregiving role was a truamtic one for adult children.

3) Daughters feel like they are in the sandwhich generation
Sandwich generation
*The daughters who feel that they are sandwiched between their aging mothers and their teenaged children.

*Were thought to be victimes of extreme stress due to their caregiver burden.

*It appears that this lable only applies to 1/3 of later midlife women.
Factors that play in to reducing caregiving burden
1) Consistent with exchange theory, monetary rewards in the form of an expected inheritance can balance out feelings of resentment toward aging parents.
2) The extent to which parents provided children with financial support when the children were younger also has an effect on the later social support provided by children of their aging parents.

*The likelihood is far greater that parents provide financial support to their adult children than vice versa.

3) Among siblings there is a tendency to try to equalize the sense of shared responsibility, if not in reality then in the way the situation is percieved.

4) Caregiving stress can also be reduced by the provision of help by others in the family.
Norms of filial responsibility when parents do decline in health
*Children wanted to take care of their parents but not impinge on their independence either.
*Rather than being a universally negative experience, caregiving may not present as traumatic a situation for middle ages daughters as is often portrayed in the media.
Intergenerational solidarity model
*According to this model, six dimensions characterize the cohesiveness of family relationships:
1) Distance apart
2) Frequency of interaction
3) Feelings of emotional closeness
4) Agreement in areas such as values and lifestyles
5) Exchanges of help
6) Feelings of obligation
Five types of relationships identified in the intergenerational solidarity model:
1) Sociable
2) Tight-knit
3) Obligatory
-feel obligated to maintain the relationships for whatever reason.
4) Detached
5) Intimate but distant
-relationships is intimate but distant.

*Frequency of parent-child relationships was found to vary considerably according to the gender of the parent.

*The most common type of mother-child relationship was tight-knit, and the most common type of father-child relationship was detached.
Extension of the intergenerational solidarity model to a German sample of adult daughters:
1) Revealed further insights into adult parent-child relationships.
2) Women who felt that they gave more to their mothers than they received felt less closely connected to them both in terms of intimacy and in terms of their admiration for them.
Netherlands study of intergenerational families
*Approached their study with a set of more behavioral criteria.
*They rated how often parents and children saw each other, how much help was exchanged, and whether conflict was experienced over material and personal issues.
*There were five types of relationships found:
1) Harmonious
2) Ambivalent
-might give money but then emotionally strained by that
-relationships with daughters were more likely to be this way than relationships with sons.
3) Obligatory
4) Affective
5) Detached/discordant
-predominantly negative engagement

*The largest % (40%) consisted of harmonious relationships
*Second largest % (29%) consisted of ambivalent parent-child ties.
*Relationships with mothers were more likely to be harmonious than relationships with fathers, and relationships with daughters more likely to be ambivalent than those with sons.
*Sons and fathers were more likely to have obligatory ties than were mothers and daughters.
Advantage of multidimensional model
Is that it provides a way to try to establish order in viewing and understanding these relationships.
*Even if they do not stay in frequent contact, they may still maintain the relationship and tend to value it in a positive manner.
*The potential exists for the sibling relationship to be the deepest and closest of an adults life, and to bring with that closeness both shared joy and pain (can fluctuate throughout adulthood)

1) For the most part, it appears that these relationships tend to be positive in middle and later adulthood.

2) Some siblings do carry with them into to midlife the perception that either they or their sibling was differentially favored by their parents and when this happens, they experience high levels of tension in their relationship.

3) Increased closeness between siblings is associated with a number of significant life events, such as marriage, the birth of children, divorce and widowhood, and the devilment of health problems or death of a family member.

4) According to the netherlands study, the poor relationship with parents, the more support was exchanged between siblings.
-They may turn to each other to compensate for failure to connect with parents.

*(90% neither argue not competitive
*Closeness associated with significant life events
*These data are on biological siblings.
1) One of the most challenging aspects of life for the older person is loss of a souse and the opportunity ti be a grandparent can offset some of this loss.

2) Many people still think of grandparents as those sweet old people with lots of time to spend with their families as ported in the media, however, variations in the patterns of grandparenting and the rapid growth of grandparents might cause this view to change.
Grandparents raising grandchildren
1) Approximately 56 million grandparents in the US
2) 11% live with their under 18 year old grandchildren
3) Of the grandparents who live with their grandchildren, 2.5 million are responsible entirely for their basic needs
4) Only a small % (14%) of grandparents in skip generation households are over 60 years, substantial % live in poverty.
Skip generation family
*Family in which children are living with grandparents and know parents are present.
*The may occur for a variety of reasons
-substance abuse by parents
-child abuse or neglect by parents
-teenage pregnancy
-failure of parents to handle children
-parental unemployment

1) Only a small % (14%) of grandparents in skip generation households are over 60 years, substantial % live in poverty (20%)
2) Many have a disability (40%)
3) 6.2 million (11%) live with grandchildren under the age 18
Positive side of skip generation families
1) The role of surrogate parents can contribute favorably to the grandparents sense of identity (Especially for Blacks)
2) Feeling that others are supportive can help improve the negative effects of the stress and strain of caring for the grandchild.
Patterns of Grandparenting
There is evidence that the role of grandparent is more central in the lives of grandmothers than grandfathers.

*Grandparents feel a strong sense of connection to the younger generation and may play a significant role in mediating relationships between parents and grandchildren during conflicts.

*Grandparents who are unable to maintain contact with their grandchildren due to parental divorce or disagreements within the family are likely to suffer a variety of ill consequences, including poor mental and physical health, depression, feelings of grief, and poor quality of life.
The classic study of grandparenting conducted by Neugarten and Weinstein:
*Identified five types of grandparents:
1) The formal grandparent
2) The fun seeker
3) The surrogate parent
4) The reservoir of family wisdom
5) The distant figure
The formal grandparent
*Provide occasional services and maintain an interest in the grandchild, but do not become overly involved.
The fun seeker
*Prefers the leisure aspects of the role and primarily provides entertainment for the grandchild.
The surrogate parent
*Takes over the care taking role with the child. (skip generation family)
The reservoir of family wisdom
*Usually the grandfather, is the head of the family who dispenses advice and resources but also controls the parent generation.
The distant figure
*The grandparent who has infrequent contact with the grandchildren, appearing only on holidays and special occasions.
Other attempts to characterize or delineate styles or categorize of grandparenting:
*Distinctions typically being made among the highly involved, friendly, and remote or formal types of grandparents.

1) Remote-involved dimension is one that seems to resonate in the attitudes that grandchildren have toward their grandparents.

2) The symbolic value of the grandparent in the family lineage, or the "family watchdog", is another critical component identified in several classifications.
• On average men reported about 4 best friends when they were single or living or alone
• Women report the most best friends while they were single or living alone
• Women also report almost 4 best friend while going through a divorce, probably because they rely more on friends
Theoretical perspectives of friendships
1) Life course perspective

2) Socializing
Life course perspective of friendships
*From this perspective, the major dimension that underlies close friendships is reciprocity or a sense of mutuality.
Fundamental characteristics of reciprocity
1) Give and take within the relationship at a deep, emotional level involving intimacy, support, sharing, and companionship.

2) At the behavioral level, reciprocity is expressed in such actions as exchanging gifts, favors, and advice.
Patterns of friendships
1) Formation
2) Maintenance
3) Dissolution
4) Dyadic withdrawal

• Is pretty much the same across adults in adulthood

*People tend to choose as friends other people who are similar in gender, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity.
Dyadic withdrawal
1) When you enter into a couple, you withdrawal from your single friends and hang on to your couple friends.
2) Less time is spent with independent friends
3) Maintenance of those relationships with other coupled friends
Formation Phase
*Involves moving from being strangers to acquaintances to friends.
Maintenance Phase
*Encompasses what is usually thought of as "friendship" during which friends sustain an active interest and involvement with each other.

*They may evaluate the quality of the friendship periodically during this phase, deciding to increase or decrease their level of involvement.

*In terms of Hartup's framework, it would be during this phase that reciprocity levels are the highest.
Dissolution phase
*The end of the friendship
*May be hard to identify
*May be gradual or a conscious decision
Peripheral ties
*Which are not characterized by a high degree of closeness, for many years
*Include people such as neighbors, coworkers, professional contacts, gym buddies, friends of friends, or the parents of one's children's friends.

1) The relationships may be amicable and cordial but never progress beyond this point

2) Other peripheral ties may be those that are in the friendship formation stage and will progress

3) A third type of peripheral tie is one that was a formerly close friendship and has now moved to the dissolution/disinterest stage.
Friendship styles
1) Independent
-Refers to not having a lot of friends, maybe having one or two friends, but not having a large friendship network
-May enjoy friendly, satisfying, and cordial relationships with people but never form close and intimate relationships.

2) Discerning
-Holds on to a few close relationships, might have 2 or 3 really close friends but then everyone else is more of an acquaintance role.
-Extremely selective in their choice of friends

3) Acquisitive
-Those who acquire lots and lots of friends that they maintain on to.
-Readily able to make and retain close friendships throughout their lives and therefore have a large social network.
Functions of social relationships
1) Social integration
•Can feel integrated with our families and communities
•One of the biggest risk factors for suicide is feeling socially isolated
•Support groups are typically one of the first lines of defense
•Hold us accountable to those members of our community

2) Identity
•The people who we choose to have friendships with us are similar to ourselves in a lot of important ways.

3) Self-esteem
•Typically were in positive relationships with people which can build our self esteem.
•Socioemotional selectivity theory, we really value those relationships that make us feel good. We see this transition as we get even older

4) Affect regulation
•We tend to be friends with people who make us feel good

5) Coping assistance
•This can be anything from giving you a ride to the airport if you need it, to providing financial assistance, talking to someone when our dog dies, etc.
•problem focused coping or emotion focused coping.

6) Social control
•Refers to our social partners controlling our behaviors
•This can imply our health related behaviors
•Or someone tells you you need to take meds etc
•Can be positive and negative
•We are pressuring people in our network by controlling their behaviors
•Can be direct or indirect

7) Size of social network is an objective measure but it does not really say much about the function of the social relationships.
Social support of friendships
1) Resources provided by others
-Giving us some sort of problem focused assistance
-Achieving some goal
-Akin to emotion focused coping
-Social support that is meant to help us relieve emotional tension or to promote positive affect
2) Physical health
3) Mental health
•The more support we report, the healthier we tend to be.
•Even if we are not experiencing it on a day to day basis we have better health psychologically and physiologically

4) Main effect model
•You have some sort of support and that is a direct influence on your health
•Social support is direct in this

5) Stress buffering hypothesis
•Which suggests that social support is really useful to us because it buffers against stress
•Social support allows us to cope with that stress
•Social support indirectly (though relieving stress)
•Both of these models seem to be important
Social support and health
1) Main effect model
• Social integration

2) Stress buffering hypothesis
• That coping assistance that's really important.
• Perceived ability
• Having support available to you if you think you need it
Social strain
•The negative aspects of social relations
•Those who report more social strain report lower psychological and lower physiological health.

*Aren't these two (social support/social strain) on a teeter totter?
**** You can have them both at the same time. Even within the same relationships. They are not independent from one another!!
•It's important to understand the relationship between these two things
Social strain and health
1) Main effect model
•The higher your social strain, the lower your overall health.

2) Stress buffering hypothesis
•Instead of stress we have social strain because social strain is a type of stressor
•Social support can actually help to relive the stress that we feel from social strain.

**Support tends to always be positive and strain tends to always be negative and support can help protect us from that strain.