Recent research has made it increasingly clear that close personal relationships are the cornerstone of interpersonal behaviour and social contact and that such relationships are more than merely common in human experience, they are necessary for survival. Research indicating that the quality of one's intimate relationships predict the frequency, severity, and prognosis of both psychological and medical complaints and also possibly mediate the influence of environmental stress on adjustment and well-being. It is clear that much work needs to be done in order to fully understand the nature and influence of relationships in our lives. The purpose of this annual series is to encourage and contribute to the continued development, integration, and cross-fertilization of research and theory on personal relationships, drawing on the considerable attention paid to this area in recent years by psychology and related disciplines.
Emphasis is given to topics which have received substantial empirical support in order to provide a forum for the continued development and evaluation of theories of personal relationships, and some papers will summarize and integrate ongoing programmes of research on important problems in this field. The second volume in the series, this book contains a broad selection of contemporary approaches to the study of personal relationships and is built around certain specific themes in recent research. The first section illustrates the way in which contemporary research on relationships differs from previous approaches, by emphasizing the issues of relationship development and the context in which such changes take place. The second theme is a refinement of the widely-researched issue of the supportive relationships embedded in social networks, focusing on the specific mechanisms which underlie such relationships, whilst the third theme represented in this volume concerns the cognitive and strategic aspects of interpersonal relationships, assigning a more active role to the participants than previous studies have done.