Breakdown Of Relationships

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Common Risk Factors

  • Steve Duck (1999) suggested 4 'risk factors' that are common problems for relationsip breakdown.
  • More that are present, the more likely the relationship will breakdown.
  • 4 Risk Factors
    • Lack of interpersonal/ social skills to make the relationship mutually satisfying. May be poor conversationalists, poor at indicating interest to others, unrewarding in their interaction with others. Partners may believe that unskilled individuals may not be interesting in maintaining the relationship so it breaks down.
    • Rule breaking: Relationships are represented by 'rules' that may be disregarded later. Argyle and Henderson identified several 'universal' aspects of friendship:
      • stand up for the other person in their absense
      • Share news of successes with each other
      • Show emotional support
      • Trust and confide in one another
      • Faithful and loyal
      • Argyle & Henderson found that breaking these rules was seen as an important cause of relationship breakdown
    • Lack of stimulation: Duck & Miell found that if one partner fails to stimulate the other sufficiently they become bored. Relationship "wasn't going anywhere". If a relationship doesn't grow and becomes static then it may be a sufficent reason to end it.
    • Cycles of negativity: Noller showed that couples in a dissolving relationship show disruptive patterns of communication. Less sensitive to non-verbal signals from each


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