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Family & Intimate Relationships

Course Number: PSY 222
Transcript Title: Family & Intimate Relationship
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: December 19, 2014
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: Yes
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit

Prerequisites

WR 115, RD 115, MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores

Course Description

Explores processes involved in both traditional and non-traditional relationships and families: including love, cohabitation, dating, marriage, parenting, communication and conflict resolution, sexuality, balancing work and family, domestic violence, divorce, remarriage, and blended families. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115, and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate scientific research (including electronic and peer-reviewed databases) and media reports concerning intimate relationships in order to make more informed decisions about one’s own relationships.
  2. Apply knowledge about cultural differences in relationship patterns to better understand and appreciate diverse belief systems in one’s own and others’ relationships.
  3. Use knowledge of communication, conflict resolution, sexuality, power, attraction, and social cognition to establish, develop and maintain satisfying intimate relationships.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  1. Written assignments or oral reports designed to integrate course material into personal experience or relationship experiences of others.
  2. Exams comprised of essay and/or objective questions which require integration, application, and critical examination of course concepts, issues, and themes.
  3. Participation in class discussions, role-plays, case studies, work-shops, or other group exercises geared toward critical analysis of course concepts.
  4. Individual or group presentations.
  5. Design and implementation of research projects.
  6. Participation in and critical analysis of relationship issues or concepts related to a service learning project.
  7. Attendance at, or participation in lectures, workshops, or other community or campus events related to the field of intimate relationships.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Concepts, Issues

  1. Social and psychological influences on family and intimate relationships, e.g., attachment style, personality traits, sex ratio, etc. Framework of relationships as a series of choices that can be made deliberately or by default; other issues impacting choices, including ambivalence, individual values, societal values.
  2. Research methods in family and intimate relationships; evaluation of the advice/information genre in media.
  3. Diversity in family forms; brief historical overview of the American family, including values and norms in American families of non-Western origin.
  4. Lee, Sternberg, and Lazarus’ theories of love; jealousy; commitment; intimacy; lifespan changes in relationship patterns. Romantic love: including biological foundations, historical and cultural differences in the role of romantic love and intimate relationships/marriage; romantic love over time; and ways to enhance romantic love in long-term relationships.
  5. Issues in dating and mate selection, including rewards, proximity, familiarity, exposure, reciprocity, similarity, physical attractiveness, social exchange theory, homogamy, power, breaking up, cohabitation.
  6. The transition to marriage; developmental tasks in marriage; marital issues over the lifespan.
  7. Social cognition’s effect on family intimate relations, including first impressions, idealization, attributional processes, expectations, impression management, and perceptual processes.
  8. Interdependency and social exchange relationships, including Peggy Clark’s work on communal and exchange relationships.
  9. Sexuality in intimate relationships, including sexual attitudes, behavior, satisfaction, communication, and aggression.
  10. Power in intimate relationships, including the social exchange perspective, personality, understanding, and stereotypes.
  11. Psychosexual development; sexual scripts; sexual orientation; developmental tasks in sexuality over the lifespan.
  12. Development of gender identity; traditional and egalitarian gender roles in relationships; gender and power.
  13. Impact of communication on relationship satisfaction; gender issues in communication; non-verbal communication; barriers to effective communication in relationships; trust and self-disclosure; effective communication strategies; resolving conflicts.
  14. Balancing work and family: role conflicts, role overload, division of labor, strategies for balancing work and family; values clarification in work/family decision-making.
  15. Childfree marriages; deferred parenthood; impact of parenthood on relationships; socialization factors; parenting strategies (behavioral, parent effectiveness training, socioteleological).
  16. Family violence: models of family violence, why women stay in abusive relationships, support for survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence; child abuse.
  17. Societal, demographic, life course, and family process factors in divorce; stages in the divorce process; economic consequences of divorce; co-parenting; divorce mediation; effects of divorce on children.
  18. Issues in single-parent families; issues in remarriage; challenges and opportunities of blended families.
  19. Essential marital strengths; family and relationships as a process; characteristics of strong families.
  20. Gottman’s work on marital continuation and satisfaction.

Competencies and Skills

  1. Analyze past relationship choices in the context of level of self-awareness, looking at the degree to which the choice was proactive, consistent with personal values, and the outcome of the choice; become more proactive in current relationship choices.
  2. Identify values inherent in favorite media sources, along with the way these values are portrayed in characters’ behavior, perceptions, and relationship choices.
  3. Compare and contrast American colonial families, slave families, Native American families in terms of family practices and values; recognize the impact of industrialization on the family; compare and contrast research findings regarding basic values and family nor in American families with diverse ethnic backgrounds.
  4. Analyze current or recent relationship in terms of theories of love; identify changes in relationship patterns as a relationship progresses.
  5. Analyze a relationship in terms of homogamy and/or social exchange theory; discuss research findings regarding effects of cohabitation on subsequent marriage; identify important issues in breaking up.
  6. Identify the changes in feelings and behaviors during the first year of marriage, along with developmental tasks in marriage, and marital issues over the lifespan.
  7. Analyze personal sexual script and sexual identity in terms of sexual orientation and sexual expectations and norms.
  8. Recognize various sources of gender role socialization; identify personal views regarding traditional/egalitarian gender roles in intimate relationships; understand issues surrounding gender and power.
  9. Recognize impact of communication skills on relationship satisfaction; identify gender-based communication styles in current or recent relationship; utilize "I" messages in giving feedback; demonstrate working knowledge of a variety of effective listening and conflict resolution styles.
  10. Demonstrate working knowledge of issues regarding division of labor in relationships, impact of role strain on relationships, various strategies for balancing work and family, and research findings regarding the effects of day care on children.
  11. Demonstrate awareness of wide range of choices regarding parenting, including childfree relationships, adoption, and deferred parenthood. Discuss the impact of children on relationship satisfaction. Apply various parenting strategies to a variety of case studies in parenting.
  12. Discuss correlates to family violence, reasons that people remain in abusive relationships, sources of support for survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence, and effects of domestic violence on children.
  13. Discuss major causal factors in divorce, stages in the divorce process, economic and psychological consequences of divorce, issues in co-parenting, and research findings regarding effects of divorce on children.
  14. Recognize major challenges and benefits of single-parent families and blended families.
  15. Identify common strengths in healthy long-term relationships and apply them to a personal relationship or case study.
  16. Interview a couple who has been in a committed relationship for more than 10 years, and analyze various aspects of the couple’s relationship in terms of similarity to or deviation from research findings and issues included in the course material.
  17. Perform an analysis of one’s own intimate relationship(s) in light of Gottman’s principles of successful marriages.
  18. Understand the influences on and influences of romantic love in one’s personal relationship decisions.
  19. Demonstrate an ability to find and critically evaluate research/information about family and intimate relationships via electronic means; to include peer-reviewed databases and the worldwide web.