In week 7, you prepared a one page report () on Healthy Inti…

In week 7, you prepared a one page report ( ) on Healthy Intimate Relationships and used two theories( and to explain the origins and development of your topic- Healthy Intimate Relationships. For this assignment: Write a 4 (apart from the title page and references) that references at least articles and includes at least articles for each theory you selected. Your final project should include the following:

Title: Exploration of Healthy Intimate Relationships and their Theoretical Foundations


Healthy intimate relationships play a vital role in individuals’ well-being and overall life satisfaction. Understanding the origins and development of such relationships requires us to delve into relevant psychological theories. This paper aims to provide an in-depth analysis of Healthy Intimate Relationships by referring to two important theoretical frameworks: Attachment Theory and Social Exchange Theory. By critically evaluating scholarly articles, this study seeks to shed light on the contributions of these theories in comprehending the formation and maintenance of healthy intimate relationships.

Attachment Theory

Attachment Theory, developed by John Bowlby and expanded upon by Mary Ainsworth, suggests that early childhood experiences with caregivers significantly influence individuals’ ability to form and maintain healthy intimate relationships (Bowlby, 1969; Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978). This theory posits that the quality of care received during infancy lays down internal working models or mental schemas that shape individuals’ expectations and behaviors in future relationships.

A seminal article by Hazan and Shaver (1987) explores adult romantic attachment using an attachment theory framework. The researchers found that individuals with secure attachments in childhood are more likely to have healthy and stable relationships in adulthood. In their study, they employed self-report measures to assess attachment styles and found that individuals with secure attachments reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction, trust, and intimacy, thus reinforcing the relevance of Attachment Theory in understanding healthy intimate relationships.

Another notable article by Collins and Feeney (2004) examines the impact of attachment on adult romantic relationships. By conducting a longitudinal study, the authors demonstrate how individuals’ attachment styles, developed during childhood and influenced by their caregivers, significantly predict relationship quality in adulthood. The study consistently highlights that secure attachment styles foster healthy, satisfying, and long-lasting intimate relationships, while insecure attachment styles, specifically anxious and avoidant, tend to hamper relationship quality.

Social Exchange Theory

Social Exchange Theory, developed by Thibaut and Kelley (1959), proposes that individuals engage in relationships to maximize rewards and minimize costs. This theory suggests that individuals evaluate their relationships based on a cost-benefit analysis, wherein they weigh the rewards they receive against the effort and resources invested (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959). Social Exchange Theory assumes that individuals aim to maintain equitable relationships where the benefits received are proportionate to the contributions made.

Rusbult’s Investment Model (Rusbult, 1980) provides a practical framework derived from Social Exchange Theory that explains the formation and continuation of intimate relationships. The model suggests that relationship satisfaction, quality, and stability are influenced by three factors: satisfaction, alternatives, and investment. A study by Lemay and Clark (2008) tests the validity of Rusbult’s Investment Model and its relevance to healthy intimate relationships. They find that higher levels of satisfaction, lower availability of alternatives, and greater investments in a relationship are associated with higher relationship quality and longevity.

Another significant article by Impett, Gable, and Peplau (2005) investigates how couples’ rewards and costs shape relationship satisfaction and stability. This study emphasizes the importance of positive exchanges, such as emotional support, affection, and sexual satisfaction, in fostering healthy intimate relationships. It also highlights the detrimental effects of negative exchanges, such as conflict, criticism, and lack of support, on relationship satisfaction and stability. These findings align with the central tenets of Social Exchange Theory, indicating that couples’ assessments of rewards and costs significantly impact the health and longevity of their relationships.


By integrating Attachment Theory and Social Exchange Theory, this paper has explored the origins and development of healthy intimate relationships. Through a critical analysis of peer-reviewed articles, we have observed the profound influence of early attachment experiences on individuals’ ability to form fulfilling relationships in adulthood. Furthermore, Social Exchange Theory has illuminated the importance of equitable exchanges and positive interactions for fostering healthy intimate relationships.

The empirical evidence synthesized from the selected articles highlights the significance of both theories in understanding and promoting healthy intimate relationships. These findings serve as a foundation for future research and provide valuable insights for therapists, educators, and individuals seeking to cultivate and maintain fulfilling relationships.