Social Penetration: The Development of Interpersonal Relationships

Social Penetration: The Development of Interpersonal Relationships

Social Penetration: The Development of Interpersonal Relationships

Social Penetration: The Development of Interpersonal Relationships

Excerpt

The ideas in this book originated from a long-standing research interest in social processes and an equally long history of informal observation of the course of development and deterioration of social ties in our present-day highly mobile society. From initial informal analyses of the growth of relationships, we began doing research on the problem and searching the traditional social psychological literature for ideas. The more research we conducted and the more we read about others' research and theory, the more we realized that the growth and deterioration of social bonds from strangership to marriage or to other close ties was a topic touched on by many people in many fields. But writers and researchers often examined only specific facets of the process and often paralleled one another with little integration or overlap. Some ideas were well developed, occasionally achieving a degree of formality; others, and these were most typical, were usually sketchy, qualitative, and often presented without empirical data.

For these reasons we set down a severalfold task for ourselves. First, we hoped to develop a broad set of ideas relevant to the growth of interpersonal relationships, drawing on as many disciplines as possible -- whether data were available or not. We searched theoretical ideas and empirical findings in clinical psychology, psychoanalysis, personality theory, early and modern sociological writings, social psychology, and marriage and family literature. We also designed and conducted our own research to investigate facets of the growth of interpersonal relationships which seemed basic and central to our framework. Our . . .

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