A Comparison of Relationship Behaviors


Pro-relationship behaviors—commitment, accommodation, sacrifice, and forgiveness—differ across relationships with parents, friends, and romantic partners. In order to test the extent to which the type of relationship plays a role in how willing a person is to accommodate, forgive, or sacrifice, participants were administered a series of questionnaires. The associations of these pro-relationship behaviors with commitment were compared across relationships. Although the tendency to accommodate, sacrifice, and forgive in one relationship was significantly correlated with the tendency to behave similarly in other relationships, there were significant differences from one relationship to another. For example, participants were significantly less likely to sacrifice for a friend than for a parent or a romantic partner. Conversely, participants were found to be significantly less accommodating for a parent than they were for a friend or for a romantic partner. Also, participants were significantly more likely to forgive friends than they were to forgive a romantic partner. All relationship behaviors were significantly correlated with commitment across all three relationship types, but the strength of these correlations was not consistent. This inconsistency is probably due to the differences in expectations that people have for different relationships. The friendships of college students are usually temporary, as friends graduate and move on, whereas relationships with parents last until death. Although there were inconsistencies, there were many significant correlations that showed that behavior in one relationship did predict behavior in other relationships. Just as behavior towards one’s parents was related to behavior towards one’s friends, it was also predictive of behavior towards romantic partners. Whether this applies to adolescents from other cultures, and whether it applies to non-university students, remains to be determined.

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Eberly, B. , Pasnak, R. , Renshaw, K. & Chrosniak, L. (2013). A Comparison of Relationship Behaviors. Psychology, 4, 850-857. doi: 10.4236/psych.2013.411122.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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