Relationship advice

Erina L. Macgeorge, Elizabeth Dorrance Hall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Writing to a nationally syndicated columnist, a woman recently lamented that she had stayed with her abusive, philandering husband for twenty-three years - and that she had done so on the repeated advice of her sister not to reveal the abuse or get a divorce (Hax, 2012). As evidenced by the chapters in this book, relationship scientists are increasingly attentive to the fact that dyadic relationships - such as this woman’s twenty-three-year marriage - are unavoidably connected to other people and relationships within social networks, and are fundamentally influenced by the people in those networks (Felmlee, 2001; Parks, 2011; Widmer, 2007). Indeed, the evidence of social network influence on both voluntary and involuntary relationships is both substantial and increasing (Le et al., 2010; Sprecher, 2011). For example, recent studies show that approval from social network members contributes substantially to relationship stability and commitment in dating relationships (Etcheverry and Agnew, 2004; Etcheverry, Le, and Charania, 2008), and that perceived interference in the marital relationship by social network members has a negative effect on marital quality (Widmer et al., 2009). In same-sex friendships, communication, closeness, and commitment are all positively influenced by contact with, quantity of communication from, and perceived support for the friendship from the (other) friend’s network (Parks, 2007). There is also growing evidence that social networks affect the conduct and quality of relationships between parents and children (Cochran and Niego, 2002; Cochran and Walker, 2005). Not only is the quality of parent-child relationships connected to the quality of the parental relationship (Erel and Burman, 1995; Hair et al., 2009), but parents’ connections with family and friends influence the quality of relationships with their children (Widmer et al., 2006), as well as specific parenting behaviors (e.g., monitoring what children are doing; Riggs et al., 2004).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Influences on Romantic Relationships
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond the Dyad
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781139333610
ISBN (Print)9781107029361
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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