Cultural Variations in relationships

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  • Created on: 05-10-15 12:42
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  • Cultural Variations in Relationships
    • Voluntary & Non-Voluntary Relationships
      • Western cultures tend to allow the individual a high degree of choice in romantic relationships.This is due to the predominantly urban settings and easy geographical and social mobility.
      • Non- Western cultures have fewer large urban centres and less georgraphicaland social mobility. Therefore people have less choice about whom they interact with and so interactions with stranger are rare making relationships tied to other factors such as family or money.
      • Voluntary relationships arent necessarily better
        • In some societies, non-voluntary or arranged marriages work well
        • Divorce rates are low
        • Epstein (2002) half of the relationships they studied, the spouses reported they had fallen in love with each other (arranged marriages)
        • Myers et al (2005) found that arranged marriages in India were no different in marital satisfaction compared to non arranges marriages in the US.
      • Love and Marital Satisfaction
        • In some non-Western cultures - for example China, there has been a decline in traditional arranged marriages from 70% in 1949 to less than 10% in the 1990s.
        • Xiaohe & Whyte (1990) A study of women in Chengdu, China found women that married for love felt better about their marriages regardless of the duration than women who had arranged marriages.
    • Individual or group based relationships
      • In Western cultures individuals  look for happiness and pleasure in relationships.
      • In non- Western cultures the group is of primary concern. Collectivist cultures are encouraged to be interdependent rather than independent.
      • Moghaddam et a (1993) found that individualist cultures value their individual interest more highly than group goals and interest. Whereas collectivism leads to relationships that have more to do with the concerns of the family.
      • Evaluation
        • Although we may expect relationships based on love to produce more compatible partners this is not always the case
          • Parents may be in a better position to judge compatabilityas young people may be blinded by love and therefore overlook areas of personal incompatibility that will show in the long term
        • Xiaohe & Whyte (1990) studied freedom of mate choice and results appeared to promote marital stability rather than instability.
    • The importance of love
      • Levine et al (1995) investigated love as a bases for marriage in 11 countries. The US respondents expressed a reluctance to marry in the absence of love (14%) however  collectivist cultures like India, had a higher proportion of people in  prepared to marry in the absence of love. (24%)
        • This suggests that in such culture the extended family is of greater importance and romantic love is considered a comparative luxury.
      • The consequence of increasing urbanisation
        • There has been a shape increase in divorce rates in India recently despite it being regarded as a traditional collectivist culture. Most of those being divorced are members of India's urban middle class suggesting that their attitudes to relationships are different to their elders.
    • Culture difference in loneliness
      • Culture that promote a strong desire for romantic relationships can influence feelings of romantic loneliness in young people not involved in a relationship.
      • Sepepersad et al (2008) suggested that young adults in Western cultures will experience a greater degree of loneliness because of the high desire for romantic relationships compared to young adults from non Western cultures,
        • In a sample of 227 US and Korean students, US students reported higher levels of romantic loneliness than Koreans when not in a romantic relationship.
    • Cultural Bias in relationship research.
      • Methodological problems; Research into cultural differences may be limited by the research method adopted, EG measures of love or satisfaction that have been developed in Western cultures may not be valid in other cultures.
      • Indigenous  Psychologies:This has lead some psychologists for example Kim and Berry (1993) to suggest that we should aim to develop more indigenous psychologies IE- explanations and research methods that are not transported from other cultures but designed for one specific culture.
        • This means we could then study aspects of relationships that are seen as important and meaningful within a particular culture rather than imposing aspects from our own culture.
    • IDA
      • Cultural Bias - Westernised romantic comedies create a warped sense of the perfect relationship


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