Research Studies in Breakdown of Relationships

breakdown of relationships - studies

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Study 1: Rule Violation

A01: ARGYLE and ANDERSON (1984) found that critical rule violations included jealousy and lack of tolerance with a third party.

A02: However, thi study also found important individual differences including age and gender differences.

Study 2: Letting go and moving on

A01: As people enter new situations, they encounter others that are more rewarding than their current relationship (HAYS and OXLEY, 1986)

A02: This suggests that, dissolution is seen as a necessary and potentially growth-enhancing aspect of an individual's development.

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Study 3: Long-distance relationshpis

  • A01: SHAVER et al. (1985) surveyed 400 first-year students at the university of Denver and found that half of the students attributed the break-up of a romantic relationship to their move away to University.
  • A02: This might be explained by the fact that the opportunity to be in new relationships is too distracting as is the pressure to develop relationships that are more convenient to maintain.

Study 4: Evidence relating to DUCK's model

  • A01: MASUDA (2001) tested the validity of DUCK's model in Japan, and found that it applied equally well in Japanese as it does in Western cultures.
  • A02: However, there are differences. In Japan as in other collectivist cultures, the social network plays a more prominent in helping the couple work through problems before they get out of hand.
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Study 5: Sequences of separation (LEE, 1984)


  • Dissatisfaction (D)
  • Exposure (E)
  • Negotiation (N)
  • Resolution (R)
  • Termination (T)
  • E and N were found to be the most intense stages


However, despite very detailed data obtained in this study, couples were not married and therefore constitues a biased sample.

Contrary to predictions in DUCK's model: LEE found that many people went straight from D (dissatisfaction) to T (termination) without going through any intermediate stages.

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Study 6: A Mathematical model of relationship breakdown A01: GOTTMAN et al. (2004) found that the way partners responded to each other enabled them to develop an equation whereby they could predict the likelihood of future breakdown.

A02: The model is useful because it could be used to show couples seeking counselling how they get on better. However, the researchers admit that the model might not work well in contexts outside the USA.

Study 7: Lack of skills - A01: LEARY et al. (1986) found that bores put other people off because of their egocentrism and inabilitiy to put themselves into another person's shoes.

A02: This can be explained by when people appear to be disinterested in us, we are more likely to be uninterested in them and are less likely to continue a relationship

Study 8: Grave-dressing - A01: LA GAIPA (1982) found that an necessary part of leaving a relationship is face-saving, the need for each person to exit a relationship with his/her reputation of relationship reliability intact.

A02: However, even though the primary role of this process is face-saving, it also serves to keep certain memories alive and to justify the commitment to the original partner

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