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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

‘sex & romance’

Maintenance and Breakdown of Relationships #2

PART 2 Conflict resolution or breakdown…? Paul Amato & Stacy Rogers (1997) set out, in a longitudinal study (1980-1992), to examine the degree to which reports of marital problems were an accurate predictor of divorce. In 1980 telephone interviewers used random-digit dialling to locate a national sample of 2033 married persons aged 55 years and under. Of those contacted, 78% completed the full interview. The analysis was based on individuals for whom information on marital status existed at 2 or more points in time – ie: 86% of the original 1980 sample. It was found that wives were more likely to report their marital problems than husbands – this was not because husbands had fewer problems; but simply because they tended not to report them. Infidelity, wasting money, drinking or drug use, jealousy, moodiness and irritating habits were found to be the most common grounds cited for divorce. The researchers a high correlation between marital unhappiness and divorce actions. Amato & Rogers concluded that, in many case, it should be possible to predict divorce from reports of marital unhappiness. Of course, the study is vulnerable to criticisms of cultural bias and historical bias as it was conducted in an era when divorce was relatively practicable and relatively accepted… Read More

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Maintenance and Breakdown of Relationships

Relaunched: 8 December 2019 George Levinger (1977) developed a 5-stage model of relationships, providing a complete overview from beginning to end. In many ways the first 3 stages parallel the Stimulus-Value-Role model of Bernard Murstein (1970). However, like Ichak Adizes (1999) who applied his Organisation LifeCycle concept to relationships, the last 2 stages imply a certain inevitability that a relationship will decline unless strategies are deployed to maintain the relationship and keep it in what Adizes calls ‘Prime’. The first intention of this piece is to consider how relationships can kept in Prime or brought back to it. It is usually relatively easy to keep a relationship going in the ‘first flushes’ of love when the partners idealise each other and there is lots of sexual activity. A year or so later when sexual activity has decreased – William H James‘ (1981) ‘honeymoon effect’ – and the partners are struggling to deal with the ‘daily grind of real life’, maintaining those idealised feelings about your partner and the relationship can be quite a task. Peter Pineo (1961) identified that, in many marriages, relationship satisfaction decreases almost linearly with length of time of the relationship. Ted Huston, Susan McHale & Ann Crouter (1986)… Read More

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Romantic Relationships: Economic Theories

Relaunched: 27 November 2018 Simon Green et al (2016, p149-150) write: “The economic approach works on the assumption that people run relationships in a similar way to a joint bank account – keeping an eye on what they and their partner are putting into and getting out of the relationship. The theories share the view that people may choose to move on if someone else offers a better ‘deal’, in a similar way to a bank offering an incentive to join them. Economic theories help to explain how couples keep their relationship going and the decision to stay or go when relationships get into difficulties.” Social Exchange Theory Developed by John Thibaut & Harold Kelley (1959) from the work of George Homans (1958), this approach is based on the precept that people try to maximise the rewards from a relationship – eg: attention, affection – while minimising the costs – eg: time and effort, dealing with the other person’s emotional problems. The underlying assumptions is that people seek out and maintain those relationships in which the rewards exceed the costs. The minimum acceptable  for a relationship to form and be sustained is that rewards received should at least equal rewards given. The establishment of a… Read More

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Is Sexual Infidelity Inevitable? #2

PART 2 Are environmental factors important? Looking at this from an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective, we can say that the Evolutionary concepts fit with the BEIGE vMEME’s need to reproduce and the Sociobilogical identification of the role of bond-producing hormones in sex gives us a BEIGE-PURPLE link into PURPLE’s need to belong to our lover. So how does it so often go so wrong? An important clue here is provided by a 1994 study by Georg Sasse et al. Their research indicated that, from a (large) sample of 1600, only 1.4% of Swiss children were born to biological fathers not named on their birth certificates. A staggeringly low figure when set against the 10%-30% claimed for Britain. Are the Swiss genetically different from Britain and much of the rest of the Western world? The answer is almost certainly a ‘yes’ – but a very qualified and extremely minor ‘yes’ and probably not in ways which would explain such a statistical difference. So we have to look at environmental factors – the Stress side of the Diathesis-Stress equation. Swiss society is notoriously BLUE – so much so that the polite manners, conformity to rules and general mechanical nature of much of what goes… Read More

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What is Romantic Love? #3

PART 3 Triangle of Love Following on from their work on the famous  Love Quiz, Phil Shaver & Cindy Hazan  (Phil Shaver, Cindy Hazan & Donna Bradshaw, 1988) proposed that love is composed of 3 behavioural systems:- attachment caregiving sexuality The 3 systems interact to produce the adult love style. According to Shaver, Hazan & Bradshaw, the attachment and caregiving systems are acquired in infancy. The latter is knowledge gained about how one cares for others, learned by modelling the behaviour of the primary attachment figure – effectively an internal working model of John Bowlby’s Continuity Hypothesis. The sexuality system is also learned in relation to early attachment – eg: insecure-avoidant individuals, with their PURPLE vMEME’s safety-in-belonging needs unfulfilled, are more likely to have the view that sex without love is pleasurable There is considerable correspondence with the work of Berscheid & Walster, as well as the Triangle of Love theory of Robert J Sternberg (1986). Shaver, Hazan & Bradshaw, for example, proposed that companionate love would include attachment and caregiving but not necessarily sexuality. Passionate or romantic love might involve only sexuality. Sternberg’s theory is, in his own words, a theory of ‘consummate love’, comprised of components or elements. The model is illustrated below… Sternberg explains the… Read More

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What is Romantic Love? #2

PART 2 Women and genes If resources are one key element women want from a relationship, what about the other key element: ‘good genes’? The female’s drive to acquire ‘good genes’ in the making of her children is a critical driver in Sexual Selection (Darwin, 1871). Traits in the male which are seen as attractive to the female and thus will aid the male’s chances of mating and thus passing on his genes are considered ‘sexually selected’. The more men have these traits, the more they are considered desirable by women. After all, when the woman puts a minimum of 6 years into having a child, it’s important the children she produces are ‘attractive’ and thus have an increased likelihood of being able to pass on their genes in the competitive environment of human reproduction. According to Ronad A Fisher’s (1930) Sexy Sons Hypothesis (aka Runaway Process), traits which one generation of females find attractive are also likely to be attractive to the next generation – hence the universals of attractiveness discussed on the previous page.  Therefore, if her sons inherit the traits that attracted her, the mother’s genes are more likely to be passed on because the sons from such a mating… Read More

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Knowing Me, Knowing You – Excerpts

Excerpt #1: Do I really know Myself? Well, do you? Do you really know yourself? And, if you do know yourself, are you happy with your self? Do you like you? If you do…great! If you don’t…not so great…. I’ve been a management consultant for some 16 years, working in both the public and private sectors. This has often involved close coaching and/or mentoring with senior people, leading sometimes to deeply personal conversations and periodically therapeutic interventions. For the last 6 years I have also worked as a practitioner in ‘personal change therapy’ for people from all walks of life. And still, occasionally, it surprises me how many people who come to me on a professional basis either don’t know who they really are or what they’re about. Or they don’t understand why they behave in certain ways. In other words, they don’t understand themselves. Why they are like they are. In some cases, they can’t really see what they are like – and the impact what they are like has on others. Often the people they care for most!   These folks are confused. Sometimes they really hurt. It’s even worse when they do recognise what they are like …and they… Read More

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‘Jay’

April 2009 Jay’ was a a 17-year-old American girl whose father was in the American forces stationed in the US. Her parents had separated 4 or 5 years earlier when her mother had started a relationship with someone else. After the split Jay lived with her father; but often stayed with her mother and her partner when he was away on duty. However, it wasn’t long before Jay started ‘going off the rails’. When she was 14, she was excluded from the school on the military base due to appalling behaviour. Attempts to have her ‘home schooled’ were only partly successful. Alcohol and drug abuse and sexual promiscuity were all part of the syndrome of self-destruction which emerged over the next 2-3 years. Jay came to me for therapy because she was concerned her relationship with her current boyfriend was falling apart, largely due to her own inability to handle her emotions. I found Jay quite a challenge – primarily because she was both fairly inarticulate and in many ways very niaive. Although she had had a difficult life, it had been a relatively-sheltered one – living in the military community on several US bases around the world. I estimated her… Read More

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2015

Master of My Own Destiny…? 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January: Committed myself full-time to my own business. Commentary: For the first time since the beginning of 2001 I didn’t have some kind of regular employment to return to after New Year. Truth to tell, this decision had been pending ever since we had moved to Bradford in Summer 2012 which led to a massive expansion in the tutoring side of my work. January-March: Ran an 8-week version of Understanding Yourself & Others: an Introduction to Psychology for Rossett. Commentary: Although there were just 4 participants, Rossett’s Extended Schools coordinator Malcolm Howe took the decision an 8-weeker (as opposed to the planned 10-weeker) could still be viable. Despite its small class size, the class gelled well and was as successful as any of its predecessors. January-June: Supported some 21 tutees in the approach to the A-Levels and right through the relevant exams. Commentary: By May I had 22 hours of tuition work most weeks… Read More

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What is Romantic Love?

Relaunched: 5 November 2018 Being able to define ‘romantic love’ and understand how it comes about, how it works, how it lasts, how it changes and how it all too often fades is a set of challenges that has beguiled philosophers throughout the millennia and over the past couple of centuries psychologists and, to some extent, sociologists too. The theme of romantic love – and the sex that usually goes with it – is one of the most pervasive memes of our times. It dominates Western culture: approximately 90% of all pop music is concerned with it and it is at the core of many dramas – whether on TV, in films or in books. In so doing, it gives a great many of us a mission in life: to find that ‘special person’ to love and be loved by. The love to be obtained is as seen as somehow mystical; and terms with a hint of mysticism are often used for the special person such as ‘soulmate’ and ‘life partner’. Of course, while men and women in all civilisations seem to experience romantic love, not all cultures regard it as a suitable basis for marriage. Phil Shaver, Shelley Wu & Judith Schwartz (1991) compared… Read More

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