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Relational progression as a dialectic: Examining turning points in communication among friends

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This study claims that relationship development can be viewed as a dialectic. Evidence for this hypothesis is obtained by examining friendships of three different intimacy levels: casual, close, and best friends. Over one-half of the friendships examined exhibited patterns of recalled relational development predicted by viewing development as a dialectic. Five trajectories for friendships were found. The most commonly reported turning points consisted of activities that the friends shared. Few differences were found between casual, close, and best friends; however, number of turning points was negatively related to satisfaction for casual friends. Implications for the conceptualization of relational development and interpersonal communication research are discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2003

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