Discuss research into the nature of relationships in different cultures. (24 marks)

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Discuss research into the nature of relationships in different cultures. (24 marks)

There are substantial differences in the nature of relationships across cultures. One of these differences is whether relationships are on a voluntary or non-voluntary basis. In Western societies people have a high degree of social and geographical mobility and thus, interact more with one another and so meet new people. As Individualists are more independent, relationships are more likely to be formed due to love and attraction. However, in Non-Western societies, people have fewer opportunities to meet new people and this is reflected in their relationships. In the West, there is the element of freedom of choice when it comes to forming a relationship and importance is placed on the individuals. In Non-Western societies people tend to be interdependent and relationships formed are often linked to family approval and economic resources.

Looking at Collectivist cultures, in 1992, Umadevi et al. compared preferences for arranged marriages or love marriages in female Indian students from professional and non-professional backgrounds. They found that both types of women were happy with the idea of an arranged marriage as long as their parents supported their decision. However, they were also happy with the idea of a love marriage as long as their parents approved of their choice. This study demonstrated the importance of family approval in Indian marriages.

There are some issues with this study which could make the results less reliable. There could be an element of social desirability bias (SDB) as women may say they are happy about arranged marriages due to all the social pressures in India. They may feel that they will be thought of as disgraceful if they don’t agree with the social norms of their culture, which leads to false information. Alongside to this the sample is unrepresentative of the Indian community because they have only used Indian women from a specific area and therefore lacks population validity (PV). If they were to use Indians from New York then the results of the study will be different to what they are.

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Another study by Gupta and Singh (1982) investigated the effect of type of marriage, the duration and gender on love and liking. The research also took place in India, where the emphasis, as seen in the study by Umadevi, is placed on the ties and responsibilities to family. They looked at 100 profession couples; 50 arranged marriages and 50 love marriages. Using Rubin’s Linkert 9 point scale they found that as time passes by, in ‘love’ marriages love and liking decreases whereas it the opposite was found in arranged marriages. This study therefore shows that the type of marriage, duration ...

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