AQA A Psychology PSYA3 The Influence of Culture on Adult Relationships

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The Influence of Culture on Adult Relationships
Western and NonWestern Relationships
Voluntary or nonvoluntary relationships
Distinguished feature in western culture ­ predominantly urban setting, relatively easy geographical
and social mobility
Ensures we voluntarily interact with large numbers of people ­ many who are first acquaintances
Culture characterised by high degree of choice in romantic relationships ­ greater "pool" of potential
relationships
Nonwestern countries ­ fewer urban settings, less social/geographical mobility ­ less choice of who
they interact with ­ interaction with stranger rare ­ relationships frequently tied to other factors (e.g
family or economic resources)
Individual or groupbased relationships
Western culture ­ great importance on rights and freedom of individual, individual happiness and
pleasure fundamental ­ individualist
Nonwestern ­ group primary concern, encouraged to be interdependent ­ collectivist
Moghaddam culture attitudes consistent with formation of romantic relationships ­ either based on
freedom of choice or concerns of family/group
Importance of love in romantic relationships
Levine ­ investigated love as basis for marriage in 11 countries ­ asked whether they would be
willing to marry someone they did not love ­ US respondents expressed reluctance to loveless
marriage (14% said they might). However collectivist cultures such as India (24%) and Thailand
(34%) higher, suggests higher proportion of people in these cultures prepares to have loveless
marriage
Suggests cultures extended family is of greater importance ­love considered luxury
Ho ­ spontaneous expression of love, especially sex outside marriage, not considered appropriate in
Chinese society
Moore and Leung ­ cultural difference in Australian study ­ compared 212 AngloAustralian
students (born in Australia, New Zealand and UK) and 106 ChineseAustralian students (Hong
Kong or China) to see if romantic conservatism of Chinese students manifest itself in different
attitudes towards romance and different romantic styles
61% of AngloAustralian students were in romantic relationship, 38% Chinese students
AngloAustralian males less romantic (more casual about relationships) than females.
Chinese males as romantic as females
Positive attitudes to romantic love endorsed by both groups ­ stereotypical view romance
only characteristic in Western culture
Cultural differences in Loneliness
Seepersad et al ­ young adults in Western cultures (e.g UK and US) experience greater degree of
loneliness because of higher desire for romantic relationships compared to young adults from
nonwestern cultures (China and Korea)
Study ­ sample of 227 US and Korean students, US students reported higher levels of romantic
loneliness than Koreans when not in romantic relationships ­ suggest emphasis on importance of
relationships in Western culture amplifies feeling of loneliness
Study also showed Korean students relied more heavily on families to fulfil social network needs,
whilst US relied more on friends and significant others

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Evaluation
Voluntary or nonvoluntary relationships
Voluntary relationships not necessarily better
Some societies, arranged marriages good sense ­ seem to work well
Epstein divorce rates low, half of them reported fallen in love
Myers ­ studied individuals living in India with arranged marriages ­ no difference in marital
satisfaction found when compared to nonarranged in US
Love and marital satisfaction
Rapidly developing countries such as China, more noticeable increase in love matches ­ moving
away from traditional arranged marriages
Parents dominating process of marriage declines from…read more

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Jankowiak and Fischer ­ searched for evidence of romantic love in nonwestern tribal societies
90% of 166 cultures ­ romantic love…read more

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