Theoretical Frameworks for Personal Relationships

By Ralph Erber ; Robin Gilmour | Go to book overview
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exploring links between different types of relationships will aid in understanding how relationships influence development.

Finally, when links are shown across relationships, mechanisms need to be proposed to account for the continuity. One mechanism could be working models ( Bowlby, 1973) or relationship schemas ( Young, 1986), which presumably summarize an individual's expectations about relationships and guide an individual's behavior in relationships. Although cognitive psychologists have developed many methods for assessing schemas, almost no research has been conducted on people's cognitions about relationships. Second, learning mechanisms such as reinforcement or modeling may also account for continuity in an individual's behavior across social partners ( Putallaz, 1987). Third, the model assumes that the relationship skills of individuals contribute to the quality of a relationship. Another area of research might focus on identifying the skills needed in different types of personal relationships. A broad empirical base on the links between relationships can serve as a guide in the search for mechanisms to account for continuity.


Parts of this chapter were written while the author was funded on an NIMH postdoctoral training grant (No. MH15780) awarded to the University of Denver. Thanks are extended to Elizabeth Wehner, Gary Levy, Robin Gilmour, Ralph Erber, and L. Alan Sroufe for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.


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