Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Book Reviews -- Learning about Relationships (Understanding Relationship Processes) Edited by Steve Duck

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Book Reviews -- Learning about Relationships (Understanding Relationship Processes) Edited by Steve Duck

Article excerpt

Learning about Relationships. Steve Duck (Ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. 1993. 224 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-8039-5157-4. $36 cloth, $16.95 paper.

Recently, a growing number of scholars have argued that people's perceptions, expectations, and appraisals of themselves and others within personal, adult relationships are largely driven by their relationship knowledge structures. These knowledge structures are held to originate from infants' earliest interactions with caregivers, and to develop over time through children's experience of ongoing family and peer relationships.

In line with this knowledge structure approach, adult relationship researchers have begun to explore the associations between contemporary relationship phenomena (e.g., behavioral interactions) and the products of relationship learning (e.g., attachment styles). Few such researchers, however, have more than a passing acquaintance with the rapidly growing theoretical and empirical literature on the origins of such relationship knowledge structures, and the processes involved in the developing relational knowledge of the child.

Learning about Relationships, the second volume in Steve Duck's edited series Understanding Relationship Processes, does a fine job of pulling together some of the most recent work on the development of children's relational knowledge and the ways in which such knowledge affects factors like self-esteem, social competence, and, eventually, adult relationship quality.

The book opens with Beinstein Miller's thoughtful account of the ways in which relationship knowledge is acquired and assimilated throughout childhood, followed by Bartholomew's superb review and exposition of current thinking about attachment theory (possibly the highlight of the book). Both chapters serve to set the scene for Putallaz, Costanzo, and Klein's consideration of the role that parents' own childhood experiences might play in the relationships they develop with their children, with special reference to child abuse and remembered parental and peer relationships. …

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