The importance of close relationships for promoting social, cognitive, and emotional development across the lifespan has long been acknowledged by both traditional and modern theories of lifespan development. Close relationships with parents, siblings, peers, and romantic partners are assumed to be an important context in which individuals construct an understanding of themselves and others. Close relationships provide people with important sources of instrumental and emotional support, which initially ensures their survival (during infancy) and later ensures their successful adjustment within the broader cultural context in which those relationships are embedded.

Ultimately, a person experiences many close relationships across his or her lifespan. This entry briefly reviews the work on some of these significant relationships, including parent–child, sibling, peer, and romantic relationships. This list is not ...

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