Implicit theories of relationship: An intergenerational study

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Abstract

40 college students and 40 senior citizens 2 generations apart in age estimated the probabilities of each of 30 behaviors for each of 14 pair relationships varying in their closeness (casual aquaintances, good friends, close relationship, married partners) and in their sex composition. The younger respondents rated the pair relationships of 22-yr-olds today, while the older ones rated those of 22-yr-old pairs of 50 yrs ago. The behavior items referred to a variety of social behaviors pertaining to joint activity, self-disclosure, other-enhancement, other-disparagement, physical contact, and norm regulation. Closeness and sex composition of the relationships as well as content of the behaviors strongly affected the probability estimates. The raters' generation also exerted strong effects; today's pairs, especially good or very close heterosexual friends, were believed to be much more likely to express positive and negative feelings and to have physical contact. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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