Discuss research into the nature of relationships in different cultures. (9 marks + 16 marks) In Western Cultures, it has been found that relationships are voluntary, temporary and focus on the needs of the individual as due to the predominantly urban settings in which we live in, we are able to (on a daily basis) interact with a large number of people. Western cultures therefore appear to be characterised by a high degree of choice in personal relationships and a greater ‘pool’ of potential relationships. Non-western cultures however, have less choice about whom they interact with on a daily basis, meaning that interaction with strangers are rare and relationships are frequently tied to other factors, such as family or economic resources. In societies with reduced mobility, (predominantly non-western cultures) arranged marriages are common as love is expected to grow due to the fact that it is not seen as necessary for marriage. Arranged marriages seem to work well and make good sense as divorce rates are low and Epstein (2002) found that perhaps about half of them report that they have fallen in love with each other. Myers et al., (2005) studied individuals in India living in arranged marriages and found no differences in marital satisfaction in comparison to individuals in non-arranged marriages in the US. This is also supported by Gupta and Singh (1982) who studied 100 degree-educated couples living in India, 50 of who had chosen their partners and 50 of who had their marriages arranged for them. The couples were asked to indicate how much they liked/loved their partners and it was found that love and liking was high in love marriages but decreased whereas love increased in arranged marriages and after 10 years exceeded love marriages. However, this study is difficult to generalise as it studies only a small sample and so cannot be generalised to the wider population. It therefore lacks validity. However, in some adapting cultures such as...
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