PSYA3: Cultural influences on relationships essay (8+16)

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  • Created by: Harry
  • Created on: 08-06-13 17:14

Discuss research into the nature of relationships in different cultures (8+16)

Research into relationships in different cultures has found a trend of 2 different types of attitude towards how relationships should treated; collectivist and individualist. Collectivist cultures are primarily found in the East, and they place more emphasis on group satisfaction and gain whilst individualist cultures are primarily in the West, and they place more emphasis on attractiveness, freedom of choice over everything else.

Collectivist cultures differ from individualist cultures in relation to relationships in many ways. For example, in individualist cultures, they are a lot more accepting of impermanent relationships. Contrastingly, collectivist cultures have higher levels of uncertainty avoidance and so would want to avoid the risk of divorce especially when there are children involved for the sake of the family. In collectivist relationships, there is a lot of social expectation for the relationship to last for ever. This creates pressure on the married couple to stay together even if they are not emotionally or physically compatible with each other, which can obviously cause internal problems. In comparison, individualist cultures have no negative stigma attached with the termination of a relationship; it is a common thing as it is generally agreed that if you don’t want to be in a relationship, it is your choice to choose this and you are entirely justified in pulling out. Priorities in collectivist cultures would be the status and wealth of the family, whereas priorities in individualist cultures would be attractiveness, compatibility and love.

Srinivasulu conducted a survey in which female students from India were asked about both arranged marriages and free-choice marriages. They said about how arranged marriages were a good thing, under the condition that both parties had consented to marriage. They also reported that they were in favour of free-choice marriage, but they were hesitant of this idea because of the fact that it would not look particularly favourable in the eyes of their family and friends who would want them to get married into an arranged marriage. This supports the claim that collectivist cultures value the collective opinion of love and marriage a lot. Another survey carried asked participants from…


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