FAQs > Relationship Research > What is relationship research? Why is it important to study relationships?

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As Ellen Berscheid and Letitia Anne Peplau noted, close relationships “form the foundation and theme of the human condition” (1983; p. 19). Although close relationships have fascinated writers and artists for centuries, the scientific study of relationships is relatively young. The International Association for Relationship Research advocates for the empirical investigation of relationship processes. We believe that scientific investigation, through the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, is essential for advancing our understanding of close relationships. 

As numerous studies have noted, close relationships form a fundamental source of meaning in people’s lives. When asked what makes them happiest, people point to their relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners, yet relationships can also cause extreme distress and heartbreak. In order to understand people, it is crucial to study the relationships through which they experience their lives. 

Last updated on July 24, 2012 by IARR webmaster