Developmental models are conceptual frameworks devised to assist in understanding people or things across time and transitions. Marriages follow a developmental trajectory, and understanding stages of the marital developmental cycle can help preempt and address problems arising in marriages. Developmental models are used to help understand the evolution of a relationship, identify possible problem transition areas and typical problem times, normalize changes in relationships over time, and help assess the viability of relationships. By studying marriage as a developmental process it has been possible for social and behavioral scientists to come up with developmental models that show distinct stages and predictable crises in marriages. This entry reviews the commonalities of the developmental models of marriage, their functioning and steps, as well as their application in ...

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