The Role of Personal
Relationships in Transitions:
Contributions of an
Edison J. Tricketta and Rebecca M. Buchanan
University of Maryland
Transitions occur [whenever a person–s position in the ecological environment is altered as a result of a change of role, setting, or both] (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 26). Whether the impetus for this change in position originates primarily in the individual or in the environment, transitions demarcate periods of social and personal disequilibrium surrounding events which require change and adaptation beyond the ongoing changes of everyday life. This disequilibrium can take many forms depending on the nature of the specific transition. However, such times are of particular import because they typically represent both unusual opportunities for growth as well as points of potential vulnerability (Bronfenbrenner, 1979).
The direction and nature of the resolution of transition-induced disequilibrium are often influenced by the networks of personal relationships in which individuals are embedded. However, just as transitions vary enormously, the concept of personal relationships has become increasingly differentiated in the literature, implying a multiplicity of potential ways in which personal relationships can affect the negotiation of transitions. Further complicating the nature of the role of personal relationships in
a Now at University of Illinois-Chicago.