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date: 16 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Developmental psychologists argue that a comprehensive view of close relationship functioning rests upon understanding the current contexts, conditions, and processes affecting individuals and their relationships, as well as what both partners carry forward from their own developmental histories. This chapter reviews the conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions of developmental psychology to the study of close relationships. We begin with an overview of key principles that guide the developmental approach to research on close relationships. Next, we review the literature on social developmental antecedents of romantic relationship functioning in adulthood, focusing on the unique and overlapping contributions of prior relationships with parents, friends, peers, and romantic partners to subsequent romantic functioning. We then discuss several compelling new avenues for research on close relationships, highlighting areas in which a developmental perspective may be useful in advancing knowledge about close relationships. Finally, we conclude with a summary of the state of developmental research on close relationships and offer some insights on future directions for the field.

Keywords: social developmental antecedents, close relationships, developmental psychology, romantic functioning

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