The effort to understand personal relationships has traditionally focused on the individual characteristics of participants. Personal Relationships and Personal Networks takes this analysis a step further, focusing on research linking participants' feelings and actions within a given personal relationship to the larger social context surrounding it. Author Malcolm R. Parks expands on the idea that the initiation, development, maintenance, and dissolution of relationships are inextricably connected to each participant's social network-a perspective that allows for a better appreciation of our connection to the world, and a greater understanding our significant power as social actors.
This book offers a new way to consider basic notions about how relationships form, such as how particular people meet, and how relationships are started. Among many findings, the volume demonstrates that individuals in relationships feel closer and generally more connected when they also have a greater amount of contact with the members of each other's personal networks and when they believe that network members support their relationship. Additional topics discussed include how this social context model is applicable to different types of relationships; how participants interact with network members; how social networks are involved in the deterioration of personal relationships; and what drives change in relationships.
Students, researchers, and professionals in a wide variety of disciplines such as communication, psychology, sociology, anthropology, family studies, clinical psychology, public health nursing, education, and social work will find this book useful, as will anyone seeking to better understand their own personal relationships.
Contents: Series Foreword. Preface.Framing Personal Relationships. Inside Relationships and Networks. Initiating Personal Relationships. Becoming Friends. Becoming Romantic Partners. Comparing Age Groups and Relational Types. Comparing Genders and Ethnicities. Mananging Networks and Relational Boundaries. Following Relationships to Their End and Beyond. Prospects for the Social Contextual Perspective. Appendix A: Measures of Relationship Development and Networks. Appendix B: Technical Notes on the Models.