Knapp's Relational Development Model
Specifically, Knapp's () stage model of relationships is examined through play an important role in different stages of adolescent and youth relationships. In Mean Girls, we see an example of avoidance when Cady intentionally avoids inviting Janice to her party. Relationships are unenthusiastic. Mark Knapp suggests that interpersonal relationships develop through several stages. My relationship with differentiating and circumscribing stages in the coming apart stages of Knapp's model. floor, which was an all girls' floor. Then we.
Instead, I focused on the friendships I already had and attended to my other personal obligations. Environmental and situational factors that relate to friendship formation point to the fact that convenience plays a large role in determining whether a relationship will progress or not. While contact and availability may initiate communication with a potential friend, individual and interactional factors are also important.
We are more likely to develop friendships with individuals we deem physically attractive, socially competent, and responsive to our needs. Specifically, we are more attracted to people we deem similar to or slightly above us in terms of attractiveness and competence. Although physical attractiveness is more important in romantic relationships, research shows that we evaluate attractive people more positively, which may influence our willingness to invest more in a friendship.
Friendships also tend to form between people with similar demographic characteristics such as race, gender, age, and class, and similar personal characteristics like interests and values. Being socially competent and responsive in terms of empathy, emotion management, conflict management, and self-disclosure also contribute to the likelihood of friendship development. If a friendship is established in the formation phase, then the new friends will need to maintain their relationship.
The maintenance phase includes the most variation in terms of the processes that take place, the commitment to maintenance from each party, and the length of time of the phase. In short, some friendships require more maintenance in terms of shared time together and emotional support than other friendships that can be maintained with only occasional contact.
Maintenance is important, because friendships provide important opportunities for social support that take the place of or supplement family and romantic relationships.
Sometimes, we may feel more comfortable being open with a friend about something than we would with a family member or romantic partner. Most people expect that friends will be there for them when needed, which is the basis of friendship maintenance. As with other relationships, tasks that help maintain friendships range from being there in a crisis to seemingly mundane day-to-day activities and interactions. Failure to perform or respond to friendship-maintenance tasks can lead to the deterioration and eventual dissolution of friendships.
Causes of dissolution may be voluntary termination due to conflictinvoluntary death of friendship partnerexternal increased family or work commitmentsor internal decreased liking due to perceived lack of support. Betrayal of trust can stem from failure to secure private information by telling a secret or disclosing personal information without permission. While these three internal factors may initiate conflict in a friendship, discovery of unfavorable personal traits can also lead to problems.
As was mentioned earlier, we are more likely to befriend someone whose personal qualities we find attractive. However, we may not get to experience the person in a variety of contexts and circumstances before we invest in the friendship.
We may later find out that our easygoing friend becomes really possessive once we start a romantic relationship and spend less time with him. These individual factors become interactional when our newly realized dissimilarity affects our communication. It is logical that as our liking decreases, as a result of personal reassessment of the friendship, we will engage in less friendship-maintenance tasks such as self-disclosure and supportive communication.
In fact, research shows that the main termination strategy employed to end a friendship is avoidance. The main change in environmental factors that can lead to friendship dissolution is a loss of proximity, which may entail a large or small geographic move or school or job change.
The two main situational changes that affect friendships are schedule changes and changes in romantic relationships. Additionally, becoming invested in a romantic relationship may take away from time previously allocated to friends.
For environmental and situational changes, the friendship itself is not the cause of the dissolution. Friendships across the Life Span As we transition between life stages such as adolescence, young adulthood, emerging adulthood, middle age, and later life, our friendships change in many ways. Aldine De Gruyter, Our relationships begin to deepen in adolescence as we negotiate the confusion of puberty.
Then, in early adulthood, many people get to explore their identities and diversify their friendship circle. Later, our lives stabilize and we begin to rely more on friendships with a romantic partner and continue to nurture the friendships that have lasted. Adolescence Adolescence begins with the onset of puberty and lasts through the teen years. We typically make our first voluntary close social relationships during adolescence as cognitive and emotional skills develop.
These early friendships allow us to test our interpersonal skills, which affects the relationships we will have later in life. For example, emotional processing, empathy, self-disclosure, and conflict become features of adolescent friendships in new ways and must be managed. Andrew Collins and Stephanie D. Adolescents begin to see friends rather than parents as providers of social support, as friends help negotiate the various emotional problems often experienced for the first time.
Friendships in adolescence become important as we begin to create an identity that is separate from our family.
For example, as adolescents progress through puberty and forward on their identity search, they may experience some jealousy and possessiveness in their friendships as they attempt to balance the tensions between their dependence on and independence from friends.
Additionally, as adolescents articulate their identities, they look for acceptance and validation of self in their friends, especially given the increase in self-consciousness experienced by most adolescents. Aldine De Gruyter,59— Those who do not form satisfying relationships during this time may miss out on opportunities for developing communication competence, leading to lower performance at work or school and higher rates of depression.
The transition to college marks a move from adolescence to early adulthood and opens new opportunities for friendship and challenges in dealing with the separation from hometown friends. Early Adulthood Early adulthood encompasses the time from around eighteen to twenty-nine years of age, and although not every person in this age group goes to college, most of the research on early adult friendships focuses on college students. Those who have the opportunity to head to college will likely find a canvas for exploration and experimentation with various life and relational choices relatively free from the emotional, time, and financial constraints of starting their own family that may come later in life.
As we transition from adolescence to early adulthood, we are still formulating our understanding of relational processes, but people report that their friendships are more intimate than the ones they had in adolescence. It is inevitable that young adults will lose some ties to their friends from adolescence during this transition, which has positive and negative consequences.
Investment in friendships from adolescence provides a sense of continuity during the often rough transition to college. These friendships may also help set standards for future friendships, meaning the old friendships are a base for comparison for new friends. Obviously this is a beneficial situation relative to the quality of the old friendship. If the old friendship was not a healthy one, using it as the standard for new friendships is a bad idea.
Additionally, nurturing older friendships at the expense of meeting new people and experiencing new social situations may impede personal growth during this period. Adulthood Adult friendships span a larger period of time than the previous life stages discussed, as adulthood encompasses the period from thirty to sixty-five years old. The exploration that occurs for most middle-class people in early adulthood gives way to less opportunity for friendships in adulthood, as many in this period settle into careers, nourish long-term relationships, and have children of their own.
These new aspects of life bring more time constraints and interpersonal and task obligations, and with these obligations comes an increased desire for stability and continuity. Adult friendships tend to occur between people who are similar in terms of career position, race, age, partner status, class, and education level.
This is partly due to the narrowed social networks people join as they become more educated and attain higher career positions. Therefore, finding friends through religious affiliation, neighborhood, work, or civic engagement is likely to result in similarity between friends. Sage,48— Even as social networks narrow, adults are also more likely than young adults to rely on their friends to help them process thoughts and emotions related to their partnerships or other interpersonal relationships.
Sage,74— For example, a person may rely on a romantic partner to help process through work relationships and close coworkers to help process through family relationships. Work life and home life become connected in important ways, as career money making intersects with and supports the desires for stability home making. Since home and career are primary focuses, socializing outside of those areas may be limited to interactions with family parents, siblings, and in-laws if they are geographically close.
Spouses or partners are expected to be friends; it is often expressed that the best partner is one who can also serve as best friend, and having a partner as a best friend can be convenient if time outside the home is limited by parental responsibilities. There is not much research on friendships in late middle age ages fifty to sixty-fivebut it has been noted that relationships with partners may become even more important during this time, as parenting responsibilities diminish with grown children and careers and finances stabilize.
Partners who have successfully navigated their middle age may feel a bonding sense of accomplishment with each other and with any close friends with whom they shared these experiences. Those who have typically had a gregarious social life will continue to associate with friends if physically and mentally able, and those who relied primarily on a partner, family, or limited close friends will have more limited, but perhaps equally rewarding, interactions. Given that geographic relocation is common in early adulthood, these friends may be physically distant, but if investment in occasional contact or visits preserved the friendship, these friends are likely able to pick up where they left off.
However, biological aging and the social stereotypes and stigma associated with later life and aging begin to affect communication patterns. Although stereotypes of the elderly often present them as slow or out of touch, many people in later life enjoy the company of friends and maintain active social lives. Mobility may be limited due to declining health, and retiring limits the social interactions one had at work and work-related events. Sage,51— People may continue to work and lead physically and socially active lives decades past the marker of later life, which occurs around age sixty-five.
Regardless of when these changes begin, it is common and normal for our opportunities to interact with wide friendship circles to diminish as our abilities decline. Early later life may be marked by a transition to partial or full retirement if a person is socioeconomically privileged enough to do so.
For some, retirement is a time to settle into a quiet routine in the same geographic place, perhaps becoming even more involved in hobbies and civic organizations, which may increase social interaction and the potential for friendships. Others may move to a more desirable place or climate and go through the process of starting over with new friends.
For health or personal reasons, some in later life live in assisted-living facilities.
Knapp’s Relationship Model
Later-life adults in these facilities may make friends based primarily on proximity, just as many college students in early adulthood do in the similarly age-segregated environment of a residence hall. Aldine De Gruyter,— Friendships in later life provide emotional support that is often only applicable during this life stage.
For example, given the general stigma against aging and illness, friends may be able to shield each other from negative judgments from others and help each other maintain a positive self-concept. Friends can also be instrumental in providing support after the death of a partner. Given this fact, it is not surprising that widows in particular may turn to other single women for support.
Overall, providing support in later life is important given the likelihood of declining health. In the case of declining health, some may turn to family instead of friends for support to avoid overburdening friends with requests for assistance.
However, turning to a friend for support is not completely burdensome, as research shows that feeling needed helps older people maintain a positive well-being.
Knapp's Relationship Model
In fact, men report a similar amount of intimacy in their friendships as women but are less likely than women to explicitly express affection verbally e. This is not surprising, given the societal taboos against same-gender expressions of affection, especially between men, even though an increasing number of men are more comfortable expressing affection toward other men and women. However, researchers have wondered if men communicate affection in more implicit ways that are still understood by the other friend.
Men may use shared activities as a way to express closeness—for example, by doing favors for each other, engaging in friendly competition, joking, sharing resources, or teaching each other new skills. Dow and Julia T. Wood Thousand Oaks, CA: Cross-gender friendships Friendships between a male and a female. These friendships diminish in late childhood and early adolescence as boys and girls segregate into separate groups for many activities and socializing, reemerge as possibilities in late adolescence, and reach a peak potential in the college years of early adulthood.
Later, adults with spouses or partners are less likely to have cross-sex friendships than single people. In any case, research studies have identified several positive outcomes of cross-gender friendships.
Men and women report that they get a richer understanding of how the other gender thinks and feels. It seems these friendships fulfill interaction needs not as commonly met in same-gender friendships. For example, men reported more than women that they rely on their cross-gender friendships for emotional support. Similarly, women reported that they enjoyed the activity-oriented friendships they had with men.
Knapp's relational development model - Wikipedia
As discussed earlier regarding friends-with-benefits relationships, sexual attraction presents a challenge in cross-gender heterosexual friendships. Key Takeaways Friendships are voluntary interpersonal relationships between two people who are usually equals and who mutually influence one another. Friendships change throughout our lives as we transition from adolescence to adulthood to later life. Cross-gender friendships may offer perspective into gender relationships that same-gender friendships do not, as both men and women report that they get support or enjoyment from their cross-gender friendships.
However, there is a potential for sexual tension that complicates these relationships. What were the environmental or situational factors that led to this situation? Review the types of friendships reciprocal, associative, and receptive. Users may be developing new norms, expectations, and behaviors based on what they observe and experience on these sites. Previous frameworks have examined relational development using traditional forms of computer-mediated communication CMC such as text-based chat and email e.
With the breadth and occasional depth of information available on SNSs, it is possible to learn a lot about another person without actually interacting with him or her, thus violating the norms of appropriate rate of disclosure early in a relationship. Facebook made a significant change in how relationship status is conveyed in an SNS profile: It is unclear, however, how users within and outside of the relationship interpret this type of declaration, how this profile change is negotiated within a relationship, and if there is a consistent interpretation of the meaning of the relationship status in terms of the characteristics and commitment of the offline relationship.
Given this lack of research despite the growing dominance of SNSs as communication channels, we decided to investigate what role this emergent technology is playing as romantic interactions escalate. For the purpose of exploring the role of social networking websites in the stages of romantic relationships, the following research questions were advanced: What role does Facebook play in the beginning stages of relational development?
Method The study employed focus group methodology because sparse literature exists regarding the intersection of SNSs and romantic relationship escalation. Given that SNSs are in themselves social contexts, focus groups seemed more appropriate than alternative methods as we wanted to observe the interplay, agreement, and disagreement of participants. Further, focus groups provide rich, in-depth information that cannot be obtained from closed methodologies Morgan, The focus groups were conducted in two sessions, one in the spring and one in the fall of The inclusion of a second wave of data enabled triangulation via member validation and negative case analysis Strauss, All groups were conducted in the same building in similar rooms to maintain continuity across groups.
Each focus group was video-recorded to obtain both verbal and nonverbal e. The discussions were conducted by three female moderators a faculty member, an undergraduate student, and an external faculty researcher trained in focus group methodology. One or two moderators were present for each session. Given some knowledge on the topic was required to probe participants on relevant topics, the authors served as moderators for the study.
Participants Participants were 24 men and 31 women from a small Midwestern university who had romantic relationship experience in the time since they started using Facebook and ranged in age from 18 to They were recruited by soliciting from courses across the university.
Some were offered extra credit in exchange for their participation, whereas others participated without compensation. The data for this study comes from a larger set of focus groups conducted on Facebook users.
Ten mixed-sex groups ranging in size from four to eight participants were analyzed. Participants reported spending an average of 2. Procedure When participants arrived at the study location, they were greeted by the moderator s and asked to check in.
Next, they were given the consent form, asked to read it, and told to ask the moderator if they had questions. Signed forms were then returned to the moderator. Moderators worked from the same general script to maintain homogeneity across groups see Appendix for instructions and questions. As an introductory discussion and warm-up Morgan,we asked participants to describe the phenomenon of romantic relationships in terms of how they come together.
When appropriate, researchers would prompt questions regarding the role of SNSs, specifically Facebook, in the formation of romantic relationships.
Though moderators worked from a list of questions generated in advance, the format was semi-structured and the natural flow of conversation dictated which questions were addressed in each group.
The authors then engaged in an open coding process Strauss, In vivo coding was also conducted to identify the terms that participants chose to describe their experiences e. Through iterations of the data, a constant-comparative method was applied to identify, elaborate, and clarify categories Strauss, These categories were examined within and across groups to determine salience and recurrence.
Common themes were identified by the researchers within each of the ten focus groups. The emergent categories were described as: The authors coded discrete statements based on the identified categories. Any discrepancies were resolved through subsequent re-evaluation of the data and discussion.Knapp's Model of Relationship Development
Where relevant, direct quotes were transcribed and used as examples of categorical content. Results Relationship Formation The first theme that emerged was that Facebook has changed the way people enter into relationships. Instead, pursuers initiated relationships offline and then, whether or not an initial two-way interaction occurred, turned to Facebook to continue communication i. Participants almost universally cited Facebook as their primary tool for interaction early in the experimenting stage of romantic relationship development.
One recurring topic was how Facebook interactions have replaced the role of phone calls. Tricia described the shift as such: A Facebook friend request is a depersonalized, system-generated message that requires minimal effort or emotional investment.
Another reason that participants appreciated Facebook during these stages is that it gives users an opportunity to get to know someone at their own pace without the pressure of having to make an immediate favorable impression. You can think out what you want to say, and they have time to respond. Chris liked that Facebook enabled him to show casual interest in someone and simultaneously build up the opportunity to have a meaningful interaction offline: Thus, Facebook empowers the pursuer to a certain degree during the initiating and experimenting phases Knapp,allowing him or her to save face by using the medium to initiate or pursue a relationship with a target.
Participants preferred Facebook over the phone because of the lack of immediacy. Another aspect of creeping is that is mimics one-sided disclosure: Facebook, thus, can accelerate the filtering process during the initial stages of relational escalation Duck, What participants chose to examine when they were creeping was also notable. Predominantly, participants were interested in checking out relationship status to see if the target was available or notfriends of the target, and pictures.
Contrary to some ideas about filtering e. Largely, participants also indicated little interest in the About section, wherein Facebook users can share direct information about themselves, including activities, interests, affiliations, and favorites.
I like snowboarding too. Deeper probing revealed, however, that participants were still likely to note similarities, but rather than relying on text provided by the target in the About section, participants gleaned this information from pictures, particularly those uploaded by other parties.
Given a collegiate workload, participants claimed it is difficult to manage every photograph, particularly after a weekend with multiple social events. According to participants, pictures are the primary source of judgment about romantic targets and are paramount in the experimenting stage of relationship development. The most commonly cited red flags were promiscuous behavior and reckless substance abuse.
Okay, not so much anymore. Both men and women suggested that these self-presentations indicated undesirable characteristics in a potential romantic partner. In addition to pictures, another source of information about the target is any common friends the pursuer might share with the target.
Offline, it might take surveying several people or directly asking the target to identify mutual friends, but Facebook makes this information easily visible on their interface.
Rather, participants examined wall posts and the friends list to identify any friends they may have in common with the target. Common friends were perceived positively. More importantly, common friends provided a potential source of additional information about a target.
These Facebook behaviors map closely to the uncertainty reduction strategies described by Berger Participants reported engaging in all three of these strategies on Facebook. Jeff revealed that this is a common behavior, especially to check relationship status: You know, not just for myself, but for other people too. The anonymous nature of profile viewing on Facebook is what enables participants to comfortably, freely, and frequently monitor others: It definitely does take away, like, the get-to-know you phase because I, like, already know everything about you in, like, two seconds.
It is possible that this instant exposure to this depth of information about a partner is altering the course of relational development. Relational partners thus have a shortcut for traditional self-disclosure in the experimenting and intensifying stages of relational escalation because of their access to a vast breadth of information on an SNS.
Relationship Status as Social Statement Facebook continued to play a role beyond the experimenting stage. The third recurring theme was that listing a relationship status on Facebook is perceived as both a social and interpersonal statement about the commitment two people share in a romantic relationship. Publicly posting this information reduces uncertainty within the social circle. Additionally, Niki explained there were defensive and proprietary reasons why you would list your relationship status: Participants tended to view this option negatively.
To feel sorry for them. Nancy adopting a mock-concerned voice: Because listing a relationship status can make it a social issue, many participants identified workarounds. If an individual goes from single to not having a status, it is assumed that the person is in the beginning stages of a relationship but not necessarily ready to publicize it. Participants must thus weigh the costs and benefits of changing or hiding their relationship status during the intensifying and integrating stages in light of the possible social consequences Knapp, Participants referred to this relationship status as Facebook official or FBO.
Three-quarters of our participants Leah adopting a different voice: As this exchange indicates, there is a reflexive understanding about FBO. Both men and women agreed that not only must a couple decide that they are serious about defining themselves as FBO in the online setting, but they must acknowledge that their online status will define the legitimacy of their relationship offline as well.
Because of this norm and the associated social pressure of going FBO, it is difficult for couples to avoid discussions about the status, expectations, and progress of their romantic relationship. An explicit conversation about going FBO directly addresses this uncertainty because FBO status instantly provides both a label and a social proclamation of togetherness.
Isaac elaborated this process: They will have their own personal space and activities. The boy does the same. Example 2 — In business, the issues regarding the quality might arise due to the communication gap and the conflicts can lead to alternative contract units. Stagnation — The relationship will decline even more if it reaches the stagnation stage. The communication will be more limited. Mostly the relationships in this stage will not continue or improve.
Example 1 — As the girl found that there is not much to talk about in general and will remain silent even though they live in the same house. So there is a serious communication gap between the girl and the boy.
Example 2 — In business relationships, there will be a communication gap when one party or both the partners feel neglected or when they felt insignificant. Avoidance — At this stage, the partners intentionally avoid any contacts and they will be physically detached.
They restrict themselves from any forms of communication to avoid a conversation or an argument. Example 1 — One day the boy packs his bags and walks out of the house. By the time the girl would have completely avoided the boy and will not attempt to stop him. Example 2 — The stagnation stage will result in both partners to avoid each other as it affects their fundamental functioning.
Terminating — This is the final stage of coming apart.
Knapp's Relational Development Model
The relationship completely terminates. The partners will take different paths and will go on with their lives. The termination is not just a subjective decision as a divorce but it can occur naturally when the people who were living next door move out or when roommates change as the year ends.
Example 1 — The boy approaches an advocate for a divorce. Example 2 — In termination stage the partnership is broken and will go on with their ventures.