The Social Psychology of Personal Relationships

The Social Psychology of Personal Relationships

The Social Psychology of Personal Relationships

The Social Psychology of Personal Relationships


The Social Psychology of Personal Relationships provides a concise and highly readable introduction to the major social psychological perspectives on the study of personal relationships. The contributors, all internationally recognized scholars in their respective fields, address the study of personal relationships from the following key social psychological perspectives:

• attachment theory

• evolutionary psychology

• interdependence relations

• interracial relationships

• self-expansion theory

• self-presentation theory
This important text also contains an innovative chapter on how to analyze data from dyadic relationship studies, along with meta-theoretical commentaries by Ickes and Duck, and by Acitelli, Duck and West.
A useful reference for professionals whose research and/or clinical practice focuses on personal relationships, this book is also intended for advanced students in the areas of social psychology, clinical and counseling psychology, communication studies, family studies and sociology courses.

The Social Psychology of Personal Relationships is one of a series of paperbacks dedicated to the study and application of processes by which individuals relate to each other in social and family settings. Each book provides an expanded and up-to-date version of a section in the original Handbook of Personal Relationships (second edition) edited by Steve Duck.


Imagine that Shakespeare had written Hamlet so that Hamlet's soliloquy was the entire play, rather than being limited to lines 57–91 of Act 3, Scene 1. You, as the playgoer, would never see the Ghost of Hamlet's father, nor his mother Gertrude, nor his uncle Claudius, nor Polonius, Ophelia, and Laertes. Hamlet would, of course, describe them to you, tell you about events in his life involving these individuals, and try to explain how—at each point in his narrative—his actions were influenced by the situations and events as he construed them at that time. But what kind of experience would you, as the playgoer, have while watching this completely “interiorized” Hamlet?

One possibility is that only the character of Hamlet himself would seem real and vivid in such a production. Perhaps it would be even easier than in the original version of the play to understand and identify with Hamlet's perspective, while the implicit perspectives of the other characters would appear more shadowy and indistinct—and therefore be experienced as less “real”. Or perhaps Hamlet's own perspective would itself seem more suspect, as he . . .

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