Theoretical Frameworks for Personal Relationships

By Ralph Erber ; Robin Gilmour | Go to book overview

tive typology. Although there is a clinical and philosophical literature about types of love or close personal relationships, the empirical social science literature was largely restricted to dichotomous distinctions that clearly did not do justice to the variety of love relationships. The most commonly used distinction was between companionate and passionate (or romantic) love ( Berscheid & Walster, 1978). Another was the distinction between limerance and maturenonpossessive love ( Tennov, 1979). Although each of these dichotomies captures something of importance and interest, no serious student of the topic thinks that they exhaust the relevant distinctions. Compared with these accounts, Lee's theory was a garden of theoretical delights that made the other accounts pale by comparison. Second, theories flourish within social psychology if' they are accompanied by procedures that are easy to use and generate data. Although Lee did not get involved in providing a method of assessment that might do justice to his insights and also be relatively easy for other researchers to use, Hendrick and Hendrick ( 1986, 1990) provided this service for love styles theory. Soon a large number of studies appeared with interesting information about different love styles, so that secondary source writers could tell (a) a more interesting story about love using Lee than they could using any other available theory, and (b) they could cite data. In the competition between some theory and no theory, some theory will always win, even if it has major conceptual problems and has been subjected to no serious critical evaluation. Now we are ready for the next stage in the search for more about the elusive phenomena of love.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Study 1 was conducted by Keith Davis and Robin O'Hearn; Study 2 by Keith Davis, Marc Levy, and Robin O'Hearn; Study 3 by Marc Levy as part of his PhD dissertation, directed by Keith Davis. All of the 30-36 month Time 3 follow-ups were conducted by Lee Kirkpatrick and Keith Davis with funding from an NIH Biomedical Research support grant (#S07 RR 07160) from the University of South Carolina. Earlier versions of this chapter were presented at the Fourth ( 1988) International Conference on Personal Relationships in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and at the Fifth ( 1990) International Conference on Personal Relationships, Oxford, England. The final chapter was written by Keith Davis and Lee Kirkpatrick, with editorial revisions by Marc Levy and Robin O'Hearn. The authors would like to thank Judy Beal, Mike Brondino, and Cathy Menne for their assistance in conducting the followup interviews and data collection. We also wish to thank George Levinger, Cindy Hazan, and Caryl Rusbult for their helpful comments on previous drafts of' this chapter.

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