Courtship Types. Variations in Interdependence Between Partners and Social Networks

Catherine A. Surra

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105 Scopus citations


The connections between variant paths to marital commitment and the degree of joint activity between partners were examined. Newlywed partners were interviewed in order to obtain graphs of changes in commitment to marriage throughout courtship. Data on the performance of affectional, instrumental, and leisure activities with the partner and others also were gathered for different premarital stages of involvement and for marriage. On the basis of diversity in the graphs, four courtship groups were identified: accelerated, accelerated-arrested, intermediate, and prolonged. Stage comparisons showed that partners become more active with each other but less with social others as courtships progress. This pattern held for the two accelerated types, although partners in the accelerated-arrested type withdrew more and sooner from network activities. Couples in the prolonged group reported increased companionship to a lesser extent and remained more active with the network. The intermediate type was marked by more network activity and less companionship during courtship and marriage. The implication that increasing interdependence plays a differential role in the evolution of the types to marriage is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-375
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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