Duck's Phase Model of Relationship Breakdown

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  • Created on: 10-06-22 15:02
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  • Duck's Phase Model of Relationship Breakdown (2007)
    • shows how the dissolution of a relationship is a process. At each phase there is a threshold, that once breached, moves the process to the next phase.
    • Intra-psychic phase
      • One person is privately dissatisfied with the relationship, considering ending the relationship, worrying about problems to come, considering expressing dissatisfaction to partner.
    • Dyadic phase
      • A person confronts their partners and voices their dissatisfaction, also rethinks the alternatives to their current relationship.
    • Social phase
      • Focus is on wider processes involving couple’s social networks. Partners will seek support from friends and family.
      • Partners engage in activities aimed at getting over the relationship breakdown and announce they are splitting.
    • Grave-dressing phase
      • Partners organise their post-relationship lives. They publicise their own accounts of the split (may try to make themselves look good).
      • P - Duck’s phase model is based on relationships from individualist cultures, where ending the relationships is a voluntary choice, and separation and divorce are easily obtainable and do not carry stigma.
        • E - However, this may not be the case in collectivist cultures, where relationships are sometimes arranged by wider family members, and characterised by greater family involvement.
          • E - This makes the relationship difficult to end, which means that the break-up process will not follow the phases proposed by Duck.
            • L - As a result, Duck's phase model is culturally biased as it assumes that break-up process is universal, which is clearly not the case.
      • P - Rollie and Duck (2006) states that the original model is oversimplified. They modified it to have a fifth phase resurrection process.
        • E - Rollie and Duck make it clear that progression from one phase to the next is not inevitable as suggested previously.  It is possible to return to an earlier point in the process in any phase.
          • E - The new model emphasises that the processes that occur in relationship breakdown in any order rather than the linear movement from one stage to the next.
            • L - These changes overcome the weakness of the original model that it is a limited explanation because it does not account for the dynamic nature of break ups.
      • P - The existence and role of the break-up phases described in Duck's model are supported by scientific research.
        • E - Tashiro and Frasier (2003)?showed that viewing the situation, rather than own faults, as being responsible for ending the relationships, helps people to see the break-up in a more positive light and move on, just as Duck's model predicts.
          • E - This shows how people deal with breakups by trying to leave their 'social credit' intact- providing support for the grave dressing phase.
            • L - This strengthens the claims made by the model and highlights the application of the theory to everyday relationships.
      • P - useful real-world applications, especially in relation to couples’ counselling.
        • E - Couples may be advised to use different strategies depending on the phase that they are currently experiencing. For example, Duck (1994) recommends that for a person in the intra-psychic phase it may be useful to shift their attention to the positive aspects of their partner's personality.
          • L - This shows that Duck's model of relationship breakdown can be used successfully to help couples contemplating break-up to improve their relationships and stay together.


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