Theories of Romantic Relationships - Duck's Phase

  • Created by: frankie11
  • Created on: 26-04-19 19:42

Duck on Breakdown

-          Reasons for breakdown can include:

-          Pre-existing doom: the couple have been incompatible from the start.

-          Mechanical failure: a couple that used to be compatible is no longer able to function as a couple.

-          Sudden death: a traumatic event such as cheating or an argument.

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Duck's Phase Model

-          Duck’s Phase Model: Duck suggests that a break-up isn’t a one-off event; it is the result of passing through a series of phases or stages.

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Intra-Psychic Phase

-          Intra-psychic phase: one or both partners consider feeling about problems in the relationship, or other partner’s behaviour and plans to either confront the partner, save the relationship or consider alternatives. They may confide in friends.

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Dyadic Phase

-          Dyadic phase: the partners confront each other to discuss issues in the relationship. They may talk about inequity, intimacy and the consequences of breaking up. The relationship can still be saved at this stage.

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Social Phase

-          Social phase: partners announce that they are splitting to social networks and engage in activities that promote getting over the relationship. Practical aspects are also negotiated. Members of social networks pick sides and provide support.

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Grave-Dressing Phase

-          Grave-dressing phase: partners create a narrative of how the breakup happened in a way that saves face and self esteem. They may blame the other partner or circumstances out of their control. They may question their decision and how it has impacted their social network.

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Evaluative Research - Tashiro and Frazier (2003)

-          Tashiro and Frazier (2003): using a self-report method, they got 96 undergraduates to recall experiences of recent breakups. They found that after a breakup, participants experienced emotional distress but personal growth at the same time, which improved agreeableness. This suggests that breakups happen in stages and the grave-dressing phase allows for recovery.

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Evaluative Research - Tashiro and Frazier (2003)

-          However, the findings for this study are only applicable to young educated Americans, so it lacks population validity. Also, as the study was in retrospective, memory may not be accurate because of its reconstructive nature.

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Evaluative Research - Lefebvre (2012)

-          Lefebvre (2012): studied Duck’s phase on virtual relationships. Using 208 participants, he found that they would show features of the social phase, such as changing Facebook statuses to “it’s complicated” and removing tagged photos. Also, the resurrection phase was also evident, through posting photos that suggested moving on and having a good time.

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Building Evaluations

-          The Resurrection phase was added in 2006, which focuses on the time after a breakup when each partner reconfigures themselves as an individual, with new hobbies and interests. This is in preparation for a new relationship.

-          An understanding of the process of relationship breakdown has been useful for relationship councillors. If it can be recognised when a couple is in the dyadic phase, the relationship can be saved by giving them coping strategies that can rebuild the relationship and prevent a breakup.

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Building Evaluations

-          Duck’s model may contain beta bias, which is minimising gender differences, because it assumes that men and women act in the same way during a breakup. Men often break up due to a lack of sex, whereas women break up due to a lack of emotional support.

-          The theory has face validity, meaning that people can relate to it because the stages are easy to spot and identify with. However, this could be due to issues with accurate recall, as our memories might change to fit in with the stages in the model.

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