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Griffit and Guay did a study where participants were evaluated on a creative task by an experimenter. Later they were asked how much they like the experiment, and an onlooker who was present. The rating was highest when the experimenter had given a positive evaluation (rewarded) of the task. They also rated the onlooker more highly if given positive feedback about their performance.--This shows that if given a positive reinforcement such as praise and encouragement then a person is more likely to find the reward giver attractive. This study was conducted in a laboratory which means the needs of satisfaction may not apply to real life and it lack mundane realism, however Caspi and Herbener supported the claims in their experiment using real-life couples.
Aron et al found pps. who measured very high on a questionnaire of romantic love also showed strong activity in areas of the brain rich in dopamine (a hormone associated with pleasure). Aaron believed this was an evolutionary adaptation to speed up mating. This shows that we enter relationships with people that will make us feel good which is a reward. However the findings don't show the importance of giving rewards as well as receiving (Hays). Also there is a limitation to using the self-report technique of questionnaires as they may answer dishonestly due to social desireability, however the brain scans who unquestionable hard proof of the dopamine activity.
Cate et al compared the importance of equality, equity and reward level in 337 individuals who were asked to asses their importance in relationship satisfaction. They found that reward level was the most important. This supports the theory as it shows that people seek to be in relationships where they can gain rewards.
However, the reward/need satisfaction theory does not take into account the cultural and gender differences in the formations of relationships. For example Lott suggests that in many cultures women are more focused on the needs of others rather than receiving reinforcement. This suggests that this theory is not a universal explanation of relationship formations and there is culturally biased.
Lehr and Geher studies 24 male and 32 female students o test the importance of attitude similarity and reciprocal attraction in liking. They were given a description of a stranger with varying degrees of similarity and dissimilarity to the pps. There was also a statement that the stranger either liked or did not like the pp. They found the stranger was liked significantly more for attitude similarity and liking. This study supports the Filter theory/similarity as it as it suggests that we are more likely to be attracted to someone who is similar to ourselves in terms of attitudes. However the study was only carried out on students so the findings cannot be generalised to other ages-there is an age bias. Also these weren't real life situations so it may lack mundane realism.
Caspi and Herbener found that married couples with similar personalities were happier than couples with less similar personalities. This supports the theory as it shows that people aim to form relationships with people that are like them. This is supported by Yashida who pointed out that similarity is about self-concept, economic level and physical conditions as well as attitude or personality similarities.
Speakan et al found that people often choose partners with similar levels of body fat. But this study only represented a narrow view of factors in a relationship and doesn't take into account factors like economic status ect.
Condon and Crano argued that similarity is important because we assume similar people will like us, which reduces chances of rejection. People who share similar attitudes and beliefs to ourselves validates us and is rewarding. These finding then also tie in with the reward/needs satisfaction theory because not only does it show that we filter to people who are similar but that their shared views are rewarding.
The social exchange theory by Thaibault and Kelley in 1959. The social exchange theory suggests that in a relationship the couple make a series of exchanges in the hope of gaining a profit. The profit of a relationship can be calculated by subtracting the costs of being in the relationship e.g. financial loss or less time for other activities because of time spent with the partner, from the rewards of being in the relationship such as companionship or gifts given by the partner and the outcome of this should create a profit for the relationship to be shown as worthwhile. However, if the costs of being in the relationship outweigh the rewards it is likely that the relationship will not be maintained.
The social exchange theory also suggests that we also decide to maintain a relationship based on a comparison level. A comparison level is a person's expectations of the rewards that should be gained from being in a relationship and this expectation is developed based on their past relationships or by the relationships that they have witnessed. So a person in a relationship will judge whether their relationship the profits of their relationship match, exceed or fall short of their comparison levels. If the relationship a person is in produces profits that are less than the comparison level then it is unlikely that the relationship will be maintained.
A relationship can also be judged based on a comparison level for alternatives which is when a person considers the potential profits that could be gained from being with a different partner and weighs this up against the profits of their current partner and the potential costs of leaving that relationship. If the potential profits of being in a with the another person, minus the cost of leaving the current partner are higher than remaining in their current relationship then it is likely that an individual would seek to form a relationship with the alternative person.
Homans found people weigh up the costs and benefits of an action before deciding what they do. In terms of relationships he suggests that we consider the actual and potential, past present and future costs before deciding whether a relationship is likely to be profitable and that choices about relationships are essentially rational economic decisions. However the theory has been criticized for focusing too much on the individual's perspective and ignoring the social aspects of a relationship such as how partners communicate and interpret shared event. The theory is also criticized for its selfish nature as it is difficult to believe that people are only motivated to maintain relationships out of hedonistic concerns therefore it is more likely that the theory applies more to individualist cultures.
Sprecher found that comparison levels for alternatives were a strong predictor of the commitment in a relationship and Duck found that the attractiveness of alternatives might be influenced by the state of the current relationship. This supports the social exchange theory as it suggests that relationships are maintained based on how partners can be compared to alternatives. However there may be a cultural bias in the research carried out on the social exchange theory as the majority of it was conducted in Western individualistic cultures and may therefore be culturally biased as the perceived costs and rewards of relationships may vary around the world. Furthermore, Moghaddam suggests that such "economic" theories only apply to Western relationships and even then only to certain short-term relationships among individuals with high mobility as when there is little time to develop long-term relationships we are more concerned with give and take.
Evidence that the social exchange theory has a good predictive value- Buunk suggests that attractive alternatives are a major contributor to the breakdown of relationships. Also Rusbult used heterosexual college students in a study which lasted months and involved the completion of questionnaires every few weeks and found that people's satisfaction, alternatives and investments all predicted how committed they were to their relationship and how long it lasted. However the study by Rusbult involved students at college so it is likely that they would be in short-term relationships and therefore the findings may not be generalisable to long term relationships, also the data collected in the study was done using a self-report method of a questionnaire which means participants could have made their relationship seem more ideal than it actually is to suit social desirability.
Can be used to explain why people may stay in abusive relationships- Rusbult and Martz suggested that their investment model could explain why some people return to abusive relationships as women who had sought refuge at a shelter for battered women were interviewed. It was discovered that women who were more likely to return to an abusive relationship were those who had poorer economic alternatives to the relationship, were more heavily invested in the relationship (married and had children) and were less dissatisfied with the relationship (reported less severe forms of abuse). Whilst this study supports the social exchange theory by showing that we aim to remain in the most profitable situation, it also highlights the fact that there are gender differences in what is deemed to be a relationship reward. Sedikides et al found that females thought intimacy and self-growth were rewards, males tended to emphasise sexual gratification as a reward and monetary losses as a cost.
Stafford and Canary asked 200 married couples to complete measures of equity and relationship satisfaction. Findings revealed that satisfaction was highest for spouses who perceived their relationship to be equitable, followed by over-benefited partners. These findings are consistent with predictions from the equity theory. The couples also completed measures of five maintenance strategies-positivity, open-mindedness, assurances, social networks and sharing tasks and under benefited husbands reported significantly lower levels of these three compared to equitable over benefited husbands. This study supports the equity theory as it suggests that the relationships lacking such rewards tend to be less equitable.
Clark and Mills disagreed with the claim that all relationships are based on economics. They distinguished between exchange relationships (e.g. between colleagues and business associates) and communal relationships (e.g. between friend or lovers). Although exchange relationships may involve keeping track of rewards and costs, communal relationships are governed more by a desire to respond to the needs of the partner. They found there is still some concern with equity but partners tend to believe things will balance out in the end. However the desire to respond to the needs of the other could actually be an unconscious attempt to restore fairness in the relationship and make it continually equitable therefore this study would support the theory. Also De Maris found that inequity in a relationship can lead to later marital disruption showing that equity is a big determining factor of the success of a relationship.
Prins et al found among Dutch couples, inequality had different consequences for males and females; males who perceived inequality did not express desire to have an affair or report having done so, yet females who perceived inequity did report considering an affair or said they had already done so due to inequity. Although the study supports the equity theory by showing that inequitable relationships are less successful, it also shows equity is likely to affect women more than men or that women are more proactive in trying to change the levels of reward that they can gain (even if it means entering another relationship). The conclusions of this study suggest the theory of inequity may be more applicable to females in terms of seeking change of their equity levels so the theory can't be generalized to males.
De Maris investigated whether marital inequity is associated with later marital disruption. They used 1500 couples as part of a US national survey of families and found the only subjective index of inequity associated with disruption is women's sense of being under benefited, with greater under benefit raising the risk of divorce. However this study may be gender biased as it only looked at the inequity in relationships for women and not those of men and research suggests that men and women might judge the equity of a relationship differently as Weltman found among married working couples, husbands who earned more than their wives rated their own careers as more important to their wives' careers and in such couples the women generally rated her career as less important than her husbands. But in couples where the woman's income exceeds the man, neither partner rated their career as more important which contradicts De Maris' findings as the under-benefited women in the study seemed still content in their relationship.
Short-term mating preferences: According to parental investment theory men evolved a greater desire for causal sex and would ideally seek sex earlier in a relationship. Female behaviour would not be subjected to the same evolutionary pressures. Over the period of one year e.g. a male who managed to impregnate a large number of females would have passed on more copies of his genes that a less successful male however a female who had sex with the same number of men in the same period would only produce one child. The less time a man permits to elapse before he has sexual intercourse with a woman, the larger the number of women he can impregnate in a given time (Buss). In contrast to women, men appear to lower their standards in the context of short term mating opportunities and then show a marked decrease in attraction following sex- an evolved adaptation to bring about a hasty departure which prevents them spending too long with one woman.
Both sexes typically invest heavily in any offspring so sexual selection should favour high levels of choosiness in both sexes. Poor long-term mate choice could be disastrous for both sexes as they would have wasted valuable resources. As women have an obligatory biological investment in their children, they are predicted to be very particular about their choice of mate, This means being attracted to males that are able to invest resources in her and her children, can physically protect her and her children, show promise as a good parent and are sufficiently compatible to ensure minimal costs to her and her children. However people do not give away their resources indiscriminately therefore males would be most attracted to females who display signals of fertility, an indication of their reproductive value.
1. The rational behind sexual selection is that random mating is irrational, people choose particular mates as the genetic quality of a mate will determine half the genetic quality of any offspring. Low-quality mates (e.g. those that are unattractive and unhealthy) will be more likely to produce unattractive, unhealthy offspring. Bu mating with an attractive high-quality mate, offspring are higher quality and an individual's genes are much more likely to be passed on.
2. Penton-Voak et al suggest that mate choice varies across the metrual cycle. They found women chose a slightly feminised version of a male face as "most attractive" for a long-term relationship. However, for a short-term sexual relationship, during the high conception risk phase of the menstrual cycle, the preferred face shape was more masculinised. Sexual selection may have favoured females who pursue a mixzed mating strategy under certain conditions. A female might choose a main partner whose feminised appearance suggests kindness and cooperation in parental care, but ight also copulate with a male with a more masculine appearance when conception is most likely. Such males are likely to have higher levels of the sex hormone testosterone which suppresses the immune system. A male who is healthy despite this must, therefore have a highly efficient immune system-a very valuable characteristic to pass on to offspring.
One of the conclusions from Buss' study of 37 cultures was that men have a distinct preference for younger women, a finding consistent with the theory of sexual selection because the younger the woman, the greater the fertility. However, some critics have tried to explain this preference in terms of social power- younger women are easier to control, and therefore are preferred as mates. But Kenrick et all effectively rejected this hypothesis as they found that teenage males are most attracted to women who are five years older than them despite the fact such women usually show no interest in them and are certainly not more easily controlled-this could also link to the theory that men seek women who look more fertile as for teenage boys a woman 5 years older than them is likely to be her most fertile and also the women in this age group are portrayed in the media most often so men will be influenced by this.
1. The expense of childrearing means females want to ensure good quality offspring so they don't wastes their efforts. One way to achieve this is to marry a man who has good resources and is caring but to shop around for good genes through extramarital affairs with attractive men advertising good genes but no resources. This is shown by Baker and Bellis who carried out a magazine survey of over 2700 UK women and found estimated that as many as 14% of the population were products of extramarital affairs.
Some women may attempt to offset their greater parental investment by cuckolding their partners. The benefits women could obtain by this type of behaviour include receiving additional social support from another male and perhaps higher quality genes for her children. However for the woman cuckolding her partners is not without its risks which include the possibility of abandonment and mate-retention strategies from the current partner.
It may be that males are less prepared than females to invest as Conservative MP Michael Gove said "lads" mags" such as Zoo and Nuts reinforce a shallow approach to women and linked them to the rise in feckless fatherhood and family breakdown. Also Geher et al carried out a study on 91 non parent undergraduates and they completed a parental investment perception scale and found that males showed significantly increased heart rates when presented with scenarios that emphasised the costs of parenting e.g. being unable to work. Researchers concluded that consistent with predictions from parental investment theory, males are biologically less prepared than females for confront issues associated with parenting.
Buss suggests that males have a number of strategies that have evolved specially for the purpose of keeping a mate. There include restricting a the autonomy ("direct guarding") and "negative inducements" in the form of violence of threats to prevent her from straying. Because sexual jealousy is a primary cause of violence against women, those who are perceived by their partner to be threatening infidelity (e.g. looking at another man) are more at risk of violence than those who are not. Studies of battered women have shown that in the majority of cases women cite extreme jealousy on the part of their husbands/boyfriends as the key cause of violence directed towards them.
Joint parental care is desirable because of the obvious benefits of successful reproduction. In any situation where males can increase the success of childrearing it will pay them to do so (Dunbar). In humans males may restrict their reproductive opportunities and invest more in each individual offspring and Reid supports male investment as males contribute resources such as a stable food supply and this investment allows the family to live in healthier environments resulting in a decrease in infant and child mortality.
Parental investment theory predicts that father investment would be greater if they knew the child was biologically their as they don't want to spend time bringing up another man's child. However, Anderson measured the resources invested by father and stepfathers (i.e. time spent with the child and support given) and found men appeared not to discriminate between children born to their current partner from a previous relationship and their own children from a previous relationship. Yet the reason a man might support a stepchild could be in the hope that they can demonstrate their parenting skills to the mother and be more likely to get offspring of their own.
Attachment, caregiving and sexuality: Shaver et al claimed that what we experience as romantic love in adulthood is an integration of three behavioural systems acquired in infancy-attachment, caregiving and sexuality systems. Attachment is related to the concept of the internal working model which according to Bowlby later relationships are likely to be a continuation of early attachment styles because the behaviour of the infants primary attachment figure promotes an internal working model of relationships leading the infant to expect the same in later relationships. In some extreme cases a child's internal working model leads them to develop an attachment disorder. The caregiving system is knowledge about how one cares for others, learned by modelling the behaviour of the primary attachment figure. The sexuality system is also learned in relation to early attachment e.g. individuals who suffered an avoidant attachment are more likely to think that sex without love is pleasurable.
Effects of childhood abuse on later relationships: Physical abuse in childhood has negative effects on adult psychological functioning. Individuals who have experienced physical abuse in childhood are more likely to report increased anxiety, depression and anger (Springer et al). Research also suggests that many victims of sexual abuse experience difficulties in forming healthy relationships in adulthood. Individuals who have experienced both physical and sexual abuse in childhood develop a damaged ability to trust people and a sense of isolation from others (Alpert et al). Distancing and self-isolation can inhibit the development of romantic attachments in adulthood. Van der Kolk and Fisler found that individuals who suffered childhood abuse also had difficulty forming healthy attachments and instead formed disorganised attachments. These disorganised patterns of attachment lead to a difficulty in regulating emotions, a key aspect of forming and maintaining healthy relationships.
Childhood friendships: Qualter and Munn showed that children also learn from their experiences with other children. The way that a child thinks about themselves and others is determined at least in part by specific experiences which then become internalised. Therefore children may develop a sense of their own value as a result of interactions with others and this determines how they approach adult relationships. Nangle et al claim children's relationships are training grounds for important adult relationships. Close friendships are characterised by affection, a sense of alliance and intimacy and sharing of secrets and personal information. The experience of having a friend to confide in promotes feelings of trust, acceptance and a sense of being understood-characteristics that are also important in later romantic relationships.
Adolescent relationships: In later stages of childhood attachment usually shifts from parents to peers and romantic relationships in adolescence serve a number of purposes. Firstly they help achieve the goal of separation from parents, having shifted their attachment focus from parents to peers; adolescents can redirect intense interpersonal energy towards their romantic partner. Second, romantic relationships allow the adolescent to gain a type of emotional and physical intimacy different from that experienced with parents. Madsen tested the effects of dating behaviour in adolescence (ages 15-17 ½) on the quality of young adult romantic relationships (ages 20-21). She found moderate or low dating frequency predicted higher-quality young adult relationships, whereas heavy dated predicted poorer quality young adult relationships suggesting some dating in adolescence is advantageous for adult relationship quality but can be maladaptive.
Fraley conducted a meta-analysis of studies, finding correlations from .10 to .50 between early attachment type and later relationships. Fraley suggested that one reason for low correlations may be because insecure-anxious attachment is more unstable. However one key question concerns the stability of attachment types. It could be that an individual's attachment type is determined by the current relationship, which is why happily married individuals are secure. Attachment theory does suggest that significant relationship experiences may alter attachment organisation e.g. Kirkpatrick and Hazan found that relationship break-ups were associated with a shift from secure to insecure attachment.
Berenson and Andersen support the claim that abused children have a difficult time developing adult relationships. They found adult women who had been abused in childhood later displayed negative reactions toward another person e.g. the expectation of rejection and emotional distancing but only with people who reminded them of their abusive parent. Berenson and Andersen concluded this process of transference could lead individuals abused in childhood to use inappropriate behavioural patterns learned from their relationship with an abusive parent in their subsequent interpersonal relationships.
Such research suggests that early experiences have a fixed effect on later adult relationships and therefore children who are insecurely attached at one year of age are doomed to experience emotionally unsatisfactory relationships as adults. This is not the case as researchers found plenty of cases where participants were experiencing happy adult relationships despite not having been securely attached as infants. Simpson et al conclude that the study does not suggest that "an individual's past unalterably determines the future of his/her relationships"
Richard and Schneider found that girls have more intimate friendships than boys and are more likely to report care and security in their relationships with other girls. Other research found that boys' relationships tend to be more competitive a fact attributed to greater emphasis on competitive play activities. However girls are more likely to engage in cooperative and sharing activities. However Erwin claims sex differences in the experience of childhood relationships have been over-emphasised and that the many similarities tend to be overlooked.
Haynie found that romantic involvement increased some forms of deviance in adolescents by as much as 35% and Neemann et al found that romantic involvement in early to middle adolescence was associated with decreases in academic achievement and increases in conduct problems. In late adolescence romantic involvement was no longer related to these negative outcomes suggesting that it is the timing of romantic relationships in adolescence that determines what influence they will have.
Madsen's finding that heavy dating patterns during adolescence are associated with poorer quality adult relationships is challenge by the research of Roisman et al. They found no effect of romantic experiences at age 20 on romantic relationships at 30 suggesting there is no consistent evidence that adolescent romantic relationships are the "building blacks" of adult relationships.
Suomi and Harlow established that rhesus monkeys reared with adequate adult but inadequate peer contact later displayed inappropriate social and sexual behaviour as adults. The longer they were denied the opportunity to interact with other young monkeys, the more extreme were their social inadequacies as adults.
In some societies "non-voluntary" or arranged marriages make good sense and seem to work well. Divorce rates are low and in about half of them the spouses report that they have fallen in love with each other. Myres et al studies individuals in India living in arranged marriages. No differences in marital satisfaction were found when compared to individual in non-arranged marriages in the US.
However, in some rapidly developing cultures, such as China there had been a noticeable increase in "love matches" and a move away from traditional arranged marriages. In China, the instances in which parents dominate the process of partner choice have declined from 70% prior to 1949 to less than 10% in the 1990's. Also a study of women in Chengdu, China, found that women who had married for love felt better about their marriages (regardless of duration) than women who experienced arranged marriages.
Gupta and Singh studied 100 professional degree educated couples living in Jaipur, India. 50 had arranged marriages and 50 had "chosen" or "love" marriages. They were asked to use liking and loving scales after one. Five and 10 years of marriage to indicate how much they currently liked and loved their partner. They found that in love marriages both liking and loving were high at the start but decreased during the course of the marriage. In arranged marriages liking and loving were much lower at the start of the marriage, but love and liking grew and at 10 years exceeded that in love marriages.-This could be because the person enters the arranged relationship with no prior expectations so they experience less disappointment and because the parents arrange the marriage the couple may persevere more in the marriage and be more willing to compromise as they don't want to let down their parents.
Methodological problems-research into cultural differences in relationships may be limited by the research method adopted. If any aspect of the methodology is interpreted differently in one culture than in another then this creates a cultural bias that can invalidate any conclusions from a cross-cultural study. Indigenous psychologies=this has led some psychologists to suggest that we should aim to develop more indigenous psychologies (i.e. explanations and research methods that are not transported from other cultures, and that are designed for one specific culture). This means that we could then study aspects of relationships that are seen as important and meaningful within a particular culture rather than imposing aspects from our own culture.
Psychologists believe that the influence of US romantic comedies creates a warped sense of the "perfect" relationship and presents a culturally-biased view of romance to young people in the UK. Children and adolescents who are repeatedly exposed to these highly idealised views of relationship come to perceive them as normal. This could then have an adverse effect on their satisfaction with their own future relationships. Johnson and Holmes spent a year analysing 40 top box office films released between 1995 and 2005. They then asked hundred of people o fill out a questionnaire to describe their beliefs and expectations concerning romantic relationships. The researchers found that fans of films such as "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "How to lose a guy in 10 days" were more likely to have views of relationships that reflected the themes portrayed in the films e.g. the films might suggest love and commitment exist from the moment people meet whereas in real life these are qualities that normally take years to develop.
In the fist phase the partners become distressed with the way the relationship is conducted. This leads to the intrapsychic process characterised by brooking focus on the relationship and nothing is said to the other partner but there is social withdrawal from them and resentment. There is then the dyadic process which is when people confront their partners and being to discuss their feelings and the future, there is a reassessment of goals possibilities and equity roles. At this stage the relationship might be saved or partners begin to involve others in their dissatisfaction with the relationship. There is then the social process when the partners may seek support from other parties and this could allow outside forces to help create cohesion or this could speed the partners towards dissolution through revelations about one or other of the partners. The partners then leave the relationship and attempt to justify their actions and this is important as each partner must present themselves to others as being trustworthy and loyal, key attributes for future relationships. In the grave dressing process partners strive to construct a representation of the failed relationship that does not paint their contribution to it in unfavourable terms and people may strategically reinterpret their view of the partner e.g. they may have been attracted to their "rebellion nature, but now label that characteristic as irresponsible. In the final resurrection process each partner prepares themselves for new relationships by redefining themselves and building on past mistakes and experiences.
Boekhout et al showed how such affairs might be a direct reaction to the perceived lack of skills and/or stimulation in the current relationship. They asked undergraduates to rate various sexual and emotional reasons for men and women to be unfaithful in a committed relationship. Participants judged that sexual reasons for infidelity (e.g. sexual boredom, variety, excitement) would be more likely to be used by men, whereas emotional reasons for infidelity (e.g. lack of attention, lack of commitment, emotional satisfaction) would be more likely to be used by women.
Long distance relationships and long distance friendships are perhaps more common than we think. One study found that 70% of students sampled had experienced at lead one LDRR and 90% had experienced one LDF (Rohlfing). The fact that in our mobile society people do have to move and do become separated from family, friends and/or partners, means that it is useful to understands the management strategies that people use. Holt and Stone found that there was little decrease in relationship satisfaction as long as lovers are able to reunite regularly.
IDA-The importance of social skills deficits in relationship breakdown had led to the development of training programmes that attempt to enhance relationship skills in distressed couples. The Couples Coping Enhancement Training (CCET) programme aims to sensitise couples to issues of equity and respect within their relationship and improve communication and problem-solving skills. Cina et al compared 50 couples who received CCET training with a control group who did not and results showed that the CCET group reported much higher marital quality after training compared to the control group.
There are gender differences as women are more likely to stress unhappiness and incompatibility as reasons for dissolution, whereas men are particularly upset by "sexual withholding" (Brehm and Kassin). Women have more desire to stay friend after a relationship has broken up, whereas men want to "cut their losses" and move on.
Rollie and Duck's model is supported by observations of real-life break-ups. Tashiro and Frazier surveyed undergraduates who had recently broken up with a romantic partner. They typically reported that they had not only experienced emotional distress but also personal growth. These students reported that breaking up with their partner had given them new insights into themselves and a clearer idea about future partners. Through grave-dressing and resurrection processes they were able to put the original relationship to rest and get on with their lives.
Rollie and Duck's model stresses the importance of communication in relationship breakdown. Paying attention to the things that people say, the topics that they discuss and the ways in which they talk about their relationship offers both an insight into their stage and also suggests interventions appropriate to that stage. If the relationship was in the intrapsychic stage for example, repair might involve re-establishing liking for the partner, perhaps by re-evaluating their behaviour in a more positive light. In later stages, different strategies for repair are appropriate e.g. some people outside the relationship may help the partners patch up their differences.
Carrying out research in this sensitive area raises particular issues of vulnerability as pps. may experience distress when revisiting the issues that led to breakdown, privacy as many such issues are of an intensely personal nature and confidentiality. For example a women in an abusive relationship may fear recrimination from her abuser should he discover her participation in the research. Ultimately the researcher faces a choice of pursuing valuable information or terminating their involvement with a participant to prevent any further harm to them.