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Love and the Breakdown of Relationships
Explanations of love
1. Sternburg's triangular theory: I,P,C Infatuation, Consummate love, Romantic love theory of love as a story. A02:
Fehr (1988) asked participants to describe love and found catagories similar to Sternburg's 3 factors.
Sternburg: happy couples had similar ideas of love
Very complicated theory
Ignores cultural differences
2. Labelling of physiological arousal: Hatfield + Walster Physiological arousal, love object, cultural exposure. A02:
Dutton and Aron, love on a suspension bridge.
Explains love at first sight
Only explains certain types of love experiences
3. Love as attachment: Hazan + Shaver Secure love is a balance trusting Resistant clingy and needy fall in love
easily, not deeply Avoidant fear of intimacy love does not last.
Ferney + Noller (1990) found avoidantly attached people had least intense and shortlived relationships
Longitudinal studies: McCarthy found women whose attachment styles had been recorded in infancy and was
in line with Hazan.
Research is corelational. Does the child determine the relationship it has with the mother?
Hazan + Shaver (1987) love quiz.
Explains where we get out ideas of love from: parents.
Universality of love: LeVine et al. found higher % of people in collectivist countries were willing to marry someone they
didn't love but had good qualities.
Men love and like their partner more than their family + best friend. Women love their partner and best friend equally,
and liked her best friend more. (Sternburg + Grajek)
Explanations of the dissolution of relationships
1. Duck's model: Intrapsychic phase, Dyadic phase, Social phase, Grave dressing. Causes: Predisposing (internal) and
precipitating (external) factors.
Duck's study: Relationship unstable if: Younger partners in marriages, couples from lower socioeconomic
backgrounds, couples from different demographic backgrounds, couples who have experienced parental
divorce, one partner has had more sexual partners than the other.
A02: Duck's model is a process
Has practical applications, allows problems to be identified.
Akert (1992) found that the breakuppers were less upset than the breakupees, who felt more lonely
depressed and angry, but felt more guilt.
Doesn't offer an explanation of why relationships breakdown.
2. Lee's model: Dissatisfaction, Exposure, Negotiation, Resolution, Termination.
Lee emphasises early stages of process, particularly painful stage.
Lots of research collected, is benchmark for dissolution of rel research.
Bias sample young, unmarried, uncommitted.
Research into Dissolution
1. Lee (1984) did a survey of 112 breakups, proposed model DENRT.
2. Rule breaking: Argyle + Henderson (1984) asked if failure to keep friendship rules had contributed to breakdown of
3. Gender: Brehm + Kassin (1996) found women report more problems in relationships so female dissatisfaction is
higher than males.
4. Moving on: Hays + Oxley (1986) Uni students are more likely to replace existing friends with new, more useful
5. Negative thinking: De La Ronde + Swann (1998) found rejection sensitivity is associated with the breakdown of