SUMMATION, DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
The assertion that attachment is affected by both members of a dyad (Bowlby, 1969; Ainsworth, 1989) gained support from the data recovered in the present study. Moreover, as in Lesley’s case, it seems that different attachment orientations may be evoked by different social contexts or stimuli. This indication is in line with Bowlby’s (1973) initial theoretical propositions as well as later hypotheses by several researchers (Bretherton, 1991; Ogilvie & Ashmore, 1991). It may be that individuals hold both core and peripheral attachment orientations, with those of a more peripheral and selective nature being more context-specific and thus, activated more discriminantly and judiciously. Recent findings suggest that individuals do, in fact, possess a range of attachment orientations whose relative accessibility determines their relational cognition (Bald-win, Keelan, Fehr & Enns, 1996)
Data from the present study indicated that positive rela-tional experiences, combined with a secure attachment style, result in positive interpretations and expectations of future relational outcomes (Eddie). Negative experiences, together with insecure attachment styles, tend to be associated with negative expectations regarding social outcomes (Paula, Tembi). Where there is conflict between relational experience and existing mental models (based on ingrained cultural beliefs), conflict, frustration and ambivalence can occur (Tembi) .
Evidence was gained for Bowlby’s (1979) assertion that mental models which are embellished through experiences associated with strong emotions (such as the domestic violence experienced by Mary and Lesley) tend to dominate existing or subsequently-established models. The scripts thus established, even though dysfunctional, become comparatively more accessible than others and are therefore the most readily applied. In Paula’s case, avoidance of heterosocial relationships was a well-used script which functioned to stunt the development of her friendships.
An individual’s metaperceptions of his/her partner’s attachment needs also influence interpersonal patterns (Sally), although not always in functional ways. In Mary’s case, metaperceptions repeatedly acted to predict negative outcomes, regardless of the existence of cues to the contrary. In this role, Mary’s metaperceptions both biased perception and functioned as self-fulfilling prophecies. Where a spouse assumes a central attachment role within the marital context, attachment feelings towards friends seem to be less salient (Eddie). Where this is not the case, attachment feelings may be experienced more easily or expansively within the context of friendships (Lesley) .
Metaperceptions also play a role in the experiences of trust within a marital dyad. Low trust and insecure attachment orientations seem to translate into heightened sensitivity about rule transgressions within the marital context (Tembil. In these cases, set within the context of marriages of a relatively brief duration, marital attributions appear to focus on factors external to the marital dyad, rather than on personal motives.
In line with the suppositions of Rempel et al. (1985), the respondents in more established marriages tended to depend more heavily on attributions about their partner’s motiva-tions and less on encodings at the behavioural level (Paula). Secure attachment orientations, associated with confidence, seem to be associated with metaperceptions of spousal trust and to translate into non-threatening friend-ship experiences with the opposite sex (Cheryl) . Congruent with Strahan’s (1991) finding, a secure attachment style seems to be associated with high trust scores (Cheryl, Eddie, Pam, Susan, Ken, Clinton). Secure attachment also seems to be related to acceptance of spousal opposite-sex friendship (Cheryl) whereas insecure attachment orientations tend to yield more readily to feelings of jealousy and threat, expressed through anger, anxiety and fear (Tembi).
Perceptions of threat to the marital bond can result in experiences of jealousy. Jealous feelings might arise from a spouse’s construal of time and attentional limitations (Leigh, Mary) – a particular dilemma for the avoidant personality, who characteristically values these two commodities. Jealousy may also originate from the construal of threat to an attachment relationship, in terms of potential damage by outside influences (Ron) .
Jealousy appeared to be experienced most acutely by Tembi, an anxious-ambivalent personality, whose jealous feelings seemed to be rooted in her construal of interper-sonal exclusion, and expressed through anxiety and hostility. The avoidant personalities seemed less inclined to construe exclusion as threatening; perhaps they had learnt to expect rejection or to welcome the privacy it can afford (Leigh, Jane) . These individuals seemed to be more sensitive about intrusion into the marital context. They consequently tended to experience jealousy as a reaction to the infiltration of others across their marital boundaries.
An individual’s metaperception of her/his spouse’s mental model as regards his/her friendships with the opposite-sex seems to have an impact on the depth and course of those friendships (Ann, Leigh). In Leigh’s case, what constituted the boundaries of marriage in terms of her friendships with the opposite sex was her perception of her husband’s disapproval of those relationships.Leigh’s avoidant attachment orientation also seemed to translate into her using marital boundaries effectively in controlling (or avoiding} potential sexuality in opposite sex friendships. The threat of sexuality breaking through in opposite-sex friendships may also be managed through repression and denial, as might have been true in Clinton’s case. The element of sexuality in opposite-sex friendships can also be controlled by processes of relationship-definition: for example, Irene established a spiritual base for her opposite-sex friendships, thus redefining them and surrounding them with socially-approved, legitimate boundaries.
Being recently married means a large amount of boundary setting, experimenting, trying out and adapting (Ann); later on, boundaries are perceived, established and acknowledged more easily and adhered to more readily (Clinton). Thus, boundaries of attachment can have both functional and inhib-itory effects on marriage and friendship. In chapter 9, the concept of boundaries is explored in depth, with particular attention being paid to their bi-directional and intricate effects in terms of opposite-sex friendship
BOUNDARIES AND FRIENDSHIP
Against the background of social-cognitive principles under-lying relational behaviour, coupled with the influence of attachment, this chapter evaluates the impact of the bound-aries of marriage on friendship experiences. Beginning with an explanation of the nature of interpersonal boundaries, the chapter investigates the manifestation of cognitive boundaries in social rule- and belief-systems. The ways in which boundaries of marriage function are then examined, and the influence they exert in terms of friendships especially with the opposite sex – is discussed. By delving into the heart of the boundary concept, chapter nine represents a confluence and amalgamation of the various themes contained within this thesis.
TIIE NATURE OF BOUNDARIES
The concept of boundaries ”deals with differences between individuals at the most basic levels – differences in the structure of our minds and brains. Such differences, as we –a~e beginning to see, underlie how we learn, think, and remember; how we react to chemicals and how we react to other people” (Hartmann,1991 p. 248). Social behaviour is surrounded by constraints – metaphorical semipermeable membranes,operating on cognitive,behavioural,affective and temporal levels. Within the context of relationships, physical boundaries operate according to a broad range of factors, including money and property, whereas cognitive and emotional boundaries include beliefs, thoughts, ideas, needs, interests, relationships, confidences, secrets, roles and rules.
Certain structural and normative variables create the preconditions necessary for the emergence of a primary relationship. In terms of friendships, these structural features influence the opportunities which individuals have to interact with each other. In this respect, cross-sex friendships are particularly susceptible to specific inhibiting and constraining structural boundaries (Babchuk, 1965). Thus, ” … any social encounter, any focused gathering, is to be understood, in the first instance, in terms of the functioning of the ‘membrane’ that encloses it, cutting it off from a field of properties that could be given weight” (Goffman,1961, p. 79).
The dynamics of encounters, and of social relationships in general, are linked to the functioning of the boundary-maintaining mechanisms that disassociate the relationship selectively from the context of which it is also a part – in essence, from the wider world. This is what Huston and – 0 “Le:v.ipger (1978) are referring to when they explain that close relationships “are affected not only by the larger cultural environment and the individual personalities of the partners, but also by the pair’s own history of interaction with each other and with the matrix of social relationships within which their evolving partnership is fit” (p. 132-133)
In the present study, one of the core reasons given for avoiding – or being wary of – friendships with the opposite sex was the potential influence of outside opinion or pres-sure to conform. Even Cheryl, who greatly valued her friendships with the opposite-sex, agreed with the statement: “People gossip about a friendship between two people of the opposite sex if one or both is married” (Mental Model Questionnaire, Appendix E 1). Although she also agreed with the item: “People are inclined to call a friendship between two married people, an affair”, she elaborated by adding, “… but it does not bother me or affect the friendship.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Rationalisation of the present research
The concept of interpersonal boundaries
The origin of the boundary concept
Boundaries of marriage
The present study
Goals of the present study
The research design
Data collection: accessing mental models
Session 1: Interviews, accounts and
retrospective memories of friendships
Measuring boundary thickness: the Boundary
Internal structure of the Boundary
Session two: Questionnaires and projective techniques
The Mental Model Questionnaire
use of projective techniques in the present
Operationalisation of attachment in the present study
Session three: Feature and target compilation
Eliciting personal constructs and self-with-other perceptions
Session four: self-with-other representation
Rationale for procedure
Analysis of data
Structural representations of self-with-other data
Session five: evaluation of well-being Well-being measures and ideal social self
Session six: feedback
case study respondents
SOCIALITY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING
Definitions of psychological well-being
Dynamics of well-being
Theoretical contours of well-being
Well-being and identity
Multiplex identities and role strain
Well-being and sociality
Well-being and the ‘others’ orientation
Well-being and the real, ideal and undesired self
Well-being under threat
Attachment and well-being
Friendship, kinship and well-being
Sutmnation, discussion and conclusion
ADULT FRIENDSHIP AND PROCESSES FEATURES, PATTERNS
The nature of adult friendship
Friendship structure and processes
Archetypal adult friendship
Gender differences in friendship
Intimacy in adult friendship
Self-disclosure: a vehicle for intimacy
Intimacy, self-disclosure and marital status
Gender differences in intimacy and self-disclosure
Opposite-sex friendship and the power differential
FRIENDSHIP, SEXUALITY AND MARRIAGE
Friendship and romantic love
Love styles and friendship
Metamorphosis, see-saw or synergy?
Friendship between spouses: inevitable alchemy?
Friendship external to the marital boundary
Opposite-sex friendship within a marital context
Friendship and divorce
Homosociality: anathema to opposite-sex friendship?
Gender segregation – People would talk!
Opposite-sex friendship – is it viable?
The role of homosexual status
SOCIAL COGNITION AND INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Roles and expectations
Goals, plans and relational resources
Assumptions and standards
Person perception and relational processes
PERSONAL CONSTRUCT THEORY AND INTERPERSONAL REPRESENTATION
Personal constructions of reality
Personal construct theory
The relational system and constructive alternativism
ATTACHMENT IN ADULTHOOD
The genesis of attachment behaviour
The attachment dynamic and adult relationships
BOUNDARIES AND FRIENDSHIP
The nature of boundaries Permeability
The ‘Janus bifrons’ feature Mutability
Interpersonal boundary functions
Homeostatic control mechanisms
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT