Interpersonal Relationships: Textbooks

Bradbury, T. N., & Karney, B. R. (2013). Intimate Relationships (2nd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

This introductory text encourages students to interact with what they read with vignettes and questions at the beginning of each chapter.  After chapters on methods and key theories, it focuses on gender and sexual orientation, attraction, personal history, perceptions of partners, conflict, and interventions.  It also devotes whole chapters to the effects of stressors on relationships and to relationships across the lifespan, and thus covers those topics in more detail than other texts do.  It is aimed at undergraduates, but it can also serve as a foundation for a graduate course.

Dragon, W. & Duck, S. (2005). Understanding Research in Personal Relationships: A Text with Readings. London: Sage.

This book is an introduction to key readings on close relationships in a format that promotes the critical reading of research articles in relationship science. Scholarly papers are presented in an abridged form accompanied by critical comments. The book has a didactic focus, providing to students historical, theoretical and methodological contexts to each article as well as an explanation of key terms and ideas. The twelve chapters cover topics such as reading research on relationships, attraction, love, sexuality, relationship development, social power, relational maintenance, jealousy, conflict in relationships, relationship disturbance, loneliness, the importance of social networks, and cyber relationships.  It is 352 pages long.

Duck, S.  (2007).  Human Relationships (4th ed.).  London: Sage.

This book emphasizes communication and discourse.  It is relatively selective, devoting whole chapters to social networks, persuasion, and the influences of technology on relationships.  It is intended for undergraduates, contains approximately 525 references, and is 296 pages long.

Erber, R,, & Erber, M. (2017).  Intimate Relationships: Issues, Theories, and Research (3rd ed.).  Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

After describing the key needs underlying relationships, this book devotes chapters to methods, attraction, self-disclosure, equity, love, attachment, and sex.  Chapters are also given to jealousy, conflict, violence, and relationship dissolution. It is intended for undergraduates, but it may serve as a foundation for a graduate course.  It contains approximately 955 references and is 326 pages long.

Fletcher, G., Simpson, J. A., Campbell, L., & Overall, N. C.  (2013). The Science of Intimate Relationships.  West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

This book emphasizes an evolutionary perspective to a greater extent than most others do. The biological underpinnings and evolutionary origins of relationships are highlighted throughout.  Partners’ minds and bodies are used as organizing themes in consideration of human nature, attachment processes, mate selection, perceptions of partners, communication, and love and sex.  Relationship violence and dissolution are also considered.  The book is aimed at upper-level undergraduate and postgraduate students.  It contains approximately 855 references and is 396 pages long.

Guerrero, L. K., Andersen, P. A., & Afifi, W. A. (2014). Close encounters: Communication in relationships (4th ed.). Sage.

This text takes a relational approach to the study of interpersonal communication to help students with their relationships, whether romantic, friendship, or family-based.  The authors offer research-based insights and content illustrated with scenarios to show how state-of-the-art research and theory can be applied to specific issues within relationships.

Knapp et al. (2013) Interpersonal communication and human relationships (7th ed.). US: Pearson.

This book provides a comprehensive developmental and analytical approach to communication in close relationships. Using both current and classic scholarship, it introduces readers to interpersonal communication principles and theories. The book features examples of relationships with romantic partners, roommates, friends, and parents to help readers better understand concepts. It covers the role of communication in the growth, maintenance, and decay of human relationships and presents research on the importance of communication in developing relationships, factors that influence relational behavior, interaction patterns that characterize the developmental course and outcomes of relationships, and effective relational communication.

Lewandowski, G. W. Jr., Loving, T. J., Le, B., & Gleason, M. (eds.) (2013). The science of relationships: Answers to your questions about dating, marriage, and family. Holmdel, NJ: Dr. L Industries.

If you could ask any question about relationships, marriage, family, or parenting, what would you ask? Coincidentally, we have published a book that answers 40 of the most common questions. The book is edited by the creators of, and includes contributions from us and many of our colleagues. The key difference between our book and the other books on relationships out there is that all of our contributors are relationship scientists and teachers at colleges/universities who are true experts on relationships. We take that expertise, add in a little research, and present things in an easy to read format on your Kindle (or other device of choice).

Miller, R. S.  (2014).  Intimate Relationships (7th ed.).  Boston: McGraw-Hill.

This introduction to relationship science is relatively comprehensive and explicitly multidisciplinary.  After a first chapter that introduces key influences on relationships—culture, experience, individual differences, and evolution—and a chapter on methods, the book devotes chapters to attraction, perceptions of partners, communication, interdependency, friendship, love, and sex.  Chapters are also given to conflict, relationship dissolution, and relationship maintenance and repair.  Unlike most other books, it also devotes an entire chapter to power and provides extensive coverage of nonverbal communication, deception, jealousy, and betrayal.  It is intended for undergraduates, but it can also serve as a foundation for a graduate course.  It contains approximately 2,035 references and is 563 pages long.

Ogolsky, B. G., Lloyd, S. A., & Cate, R. M. (2013). The developmental course of romantic relationships. New York: Routledge.

This multidisciplinary text highlights the development of romantic relationships, from initiation to commitment or demise, by highlighting the historical context, current research and theory, and diversity of patterns. Engagingly written with colorful examples, the authors examine the joy, stress, power-struggles, intimacy, and aggression that characterize these relationships. Readers gain a better understanding as to why, even after the pain and suffering associated with a breakup, most of us go right back out and start again. Relationships are examined through an interdisciplinary lens –psychological, sociological, environmental and communicative perspectives are all considered. End of chapter summaries, lists of key concepts, and additional readings serve as a review. As a whole the book explores what precipitates success or failure of these relationships and how this has changed over time. It is 224 pages long.

Regan, P. C. (2011). Close Relationships. East Sussex: Routledge.

This book is a broad introduction to relationship science with multidisciplinary reach. Its first section presents the fundamental principles of relationship science, discussing the key concepts, theories, and research methods of the field. Then relationship development is discussed, including relationship initiation, development, mate selection and marriage. The third part analyzes relationship processes such as communicating and supporting, loving and sexing. Finally, rejection and betrayal, aggression and violence, conflict and loss, and intervention are discussed as relationship challenges. It is intended for upper-level undergraduates, but it can readily serve as a foundation for a graduate course.  It contains approximately 1,260 references and is 387 pages long.

Simpson, J. A., & Campbell, L. (2013). The Oxford handbook of close relationships. Oxford University Press.

Willerton, J.  (2010). The Psychology of Relationships. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave MacMillan.

This relatively brief book focuses on evolution, attachment, and culture.  Whole chapters are devoted to those influences on relationships and to the development, maintenance, and breakdown of partnerships. An entire chapter is also devoted to the effects of relationships on health, giving the topic more prominence than it is accorded in most other texts. It is aimed at undergraduates, contains approximately 280 references, and is 200 pages long.