Measurement of Love and Intimate Relations: Theories, Scales, and Applications for Love Development, Maintenance, and Dissolution

By Oliver C. S. Tzeng | Go to book overview

1
A Common Methodological Framework for Love Research in Theory Development, Measurement, and Evaluation

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce a common methodological framework as the guideline for future scientific studies of love and intimate relationships. As summarized in Chapter 3, the scientific study of love has a relatively short history. Researchers have approached it from different disciplinary orientations and have made progress in rather diverse directions with different levels of sophistication. Consequently, in the area of love theorization, the science of love has comprised seven competing paradigms, which have also been prevalent in other fields: personality attribution, introspection, psychophysiology, behavioral reinforcement, cognitive/comparative judgment, psychometric analysis, and structural components.

In the area of measurement, many scales have been developed, under these diverse theoretical orientations, to assess intra- and interpersonal characteristics at different stages of the octagonal love development cycle: strangers, friendliness, attraction, romance, commitment (marriage or live-in), conflict, love dissolution, and separation/divorce. Further, these measurements have been used for assessing five dimensional content issues in the bipolarities of (1) attitude versus cognition, (2) beliefs versus behaviors, (3) structure of love versus function of love, (4) abstract union of two individuals versus their concrete (observable) interactions, and (5) implicit interpersonal relationships versus situational impact on two individuals and their behaviors.

In short, current love studies are rather fragmented in their conceptions of content issues and are disjoint in their analysis of the love development and dissolution stages. Consequently, in clinical and academic research work, there exist significant ambiguities and uncertainties about the definitions, structures, and functions of love in human development.

Many contemporary researchers have advocated the need to advance the study of love and intimate relationships into a comprehensive, rigorous sci-

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