Adult Friendship

Books

Rosemary Blieszner & Rebecca G. Adams

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  • Sage Series on Close Relationships

    Series Editors Clyde Hendrick, Ph.D., and Susan S. Hendrick, Ph.D.

    In this series…

    ROMANTIC LOVE

    by Susan S. Hendrick and Clyde Hendrick

    COURTSHIP

    by Rodney M. Cate and Sally A. Lloyd

    ADULT FRIENDSHIP

    by Rosemary Blieszner and Rebecca G. Adams

    Forthcoming…

    COMMUNICATIONS IN CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS

    by William R. Cupach and Sandra Metts

    SELF-DISCLOSURE IN CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS

    by Valerian J. Derlega, Sandra Metts,

    Sandra Petronio, and Stephen T. Margulis

    MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS: METAPHOR, MEANING, AND INTIMACY

    by Steve Duck

    THE PROMISE OF GENDER EQUALITY: IN DUAL CAREER FAMILIES

    by Lucia Albino Gilbert

    CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH CHRONIC ILLNESS AND DISABILITY

    by Renee F. Lyons, Michael J. L. Sullivan, and Paul G. Ritvo

    FRIENDSHIP: THE STUDY OF INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION

    by Daniel Perlman and Beverly Fehr

    SEXUAL DIMENSIONS OF CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS

    by Susan Sprecher and Kathleen McKinney

    Copyright

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    Series Editors' Introduction

    When we first began our work on love attitudes more than a decade ago, we did not know what to call our research area. In some ways it represented an extension of earlier work in interpersonal attraction. Most of our scholarly models were psychologists (though sociologists had long been deeply involved in the areas of courtship and marriage), yet we sometimes felt as if our work had no professional “home”. That has all changed. Our research not only has a home, it has an extended family as well, and the family is composed of relationship researchers. During the past decade the discipline of close relationships (also called personal relationships and intimate relationships) has emerged, developed, and flourished.

    Two aspects of close relationships research should be noted. The first is its rapid growth, resulting in numerous books, journals, handbooks, book series, and professional organizations; but as fast as the field grows, the demand for even more research and knowledge seems to be ever increasing. Questions about close, personal relationships still far exceed answers. The second noteworthy aspect of the new discipline of close relationships is its interdisciplinary nature. The field owes its vitality to scholars from communications, family studies and human development, psychology (clinical, counseling, developmental, social), and sociology as well as other disciplines such as nursing and social work. It is this interdisciplinary wellspring that gives close relationships research its diversity and richness, qualities that we hope to achieve in the current series.

    The Sage Series on Close Relationships is designed to acquaint diverse readers with the most up-to-date information about various topics in close relationships theory and research. Each volume in the series covers a particular topic or theme in one area of close relationships. Each book reviews the particular topic area, describes contemporary research in the area (including the authors’ own work, where appropriate), and offers some suggestions for interesting research questions and/or real-world applications related to the topic. The volumes are designed to be appropriate for students and professionals in communication, family studies, psychology, sociology, and social work, among others. A basic assumption of the series is that the broad panorama of close relationships can best be protrayed by authors from multiple disciplines, so that the series cannot be “captured” by any single disciplinary bias.

    The current volume, Adult Friendship, explores a topic relevant to everyone—friendship. Rosemary Blieszner and Rebecca Adams have reviewed their own research and that of many other scholars in a book that gives the state-of-the-art on friendship research and presents a new and integrative model of friendship. The book is clearly written, yet very scholarly, and packs a tremendous amount of information into a modest number of pages. The authors present a thoughtful statement about what we know and have yet to learn concerning adults' friendships. Indeed, lovers may come and go, but our friends may be with us for life.

    ClydeHendrick and SusanS.Hendrick Series Editors

    Preface

    The invitation to contribute a volume on adult friendship for the Sage Series on Close Relationships came at an opportune time. We had recently completed co-editing Older Adult Friendship: Structure and Process (Adams & Blieszner, Sage Publications, 1989), which made us aware of the need for a conceptual model of friendship that integrated psychological and sociological constructs. Writing the new book enabled us to develop such a model, clarify the linkages among its elements, use gender as an example of a key individual characteristic in this framework, organize the widely scattered literature on adult friendship, and develop research based on the model.

    Because the earlier volume listed Adams as first author, this one names Blieszner first, but we wish to emphasize that our respective contributions to this book were equal. Adams took the lead in developing the model described in Chapter 1, drawing on her structural orientation and relying on Blieszner to develop the process and phase aspects of the model. Blieszner drafted Chapter 2, with input on structural and network analysis from Adams. Adams wrote Chapter 3 and Blieszner wrote Chapters 4 and 5 with editorial comments from the other author. Finally, Adams conceptualized and drafted Chapter 6, to which Blieszner contributed sections on individual, dyadic, network, and society-level interventions.

    We thank our colleagues who provided support and assistance with this project. First we acknowledge series editors Susan and Clyde Hendrick, who supplied patient encouragement and helpful editing. We appreciate the advice we received from Daniel Perlman, who read and commented on the entire first draft. We thank Jay A. Mancini, Head of Family and Child Development at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Paula Duprey, Julie Peterson, and Carol Pfaffly, graduate research assistants. We also thank William Knox, Head of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Glen Godwin and David Yates, graduate assistants. Other colleagues were helpful as well: Scott Johnson reviewed Chapter 6; Paul Luebke, David Mitchell, and David Pratto commented on Figure 1.1; Gordon Bennett, Jerald Leimenstoll, Hyman Rodman, Virginia Stephens, and Robert Wineberg directed us to applied literatures; Jackie Rives and Joan Roach provided secretarial assistance. Alyce Wimbish of Phoenix Graphics, Greensboro, produced the figures. Adams was supported by a UNCG Excellence Foundation Research Grant during the summer of 1991.

    With the completion of this project, we continue to celebrate our friendship and look forward to joint research enterprises in the future. We dedicate this book to our youngest best friends, Suzanne, Mark, and Hadley.

    RosemaryBlieszner and RebeccaG.Adams
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    About the Authors

    Rosemary Blieszner is Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Child Development and Associate Director of the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She received the Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University in Human Development—Family Studies with a concentration in Adult Development and Aging. Her research focuses on family and friend relationships and life events in adulthood and old age. Currently she is examining the contributions of close relationships between friends and between adult children and aging parents to personal development and psychological well-being.

    Rebecca G. Adams is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, with an emphasis on the Sociology of Aging. Her major research interest is friendship patterns, especially as they are affected by geographic separation and by cultural and structural context. Currently she is examining the cultural conventions and structural conditions affecting the development of friendships among members of a nonterritorial music subculture.

    Dr. Adams and Dr. Blieszner co-edited Older Adult Friendship: Structure and Process (Sage, 1989). They are collaborating on a study of older adult friendship patterns and their effects on mental health. They plan to continue working together on research related to the conceptual model of friendship presented in this volume.


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