TOWARD A THEORY OF FRIENDSHIP BASED ON A CONCEPTION OF SELF

Authors

  • PAUL H. WRIGHT

    1. Paul H. Wright (Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1963) is professor of Psychology at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202.
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  • This study accepted for publication July 11, 1977.

Abstract

The present theory of friendship is based on a conception of self that regards a central motive to be the person's concern for the well-being and worth of the entity (s) he identifies as self. This concern manifests itself in tendencies to affirm one's sense of individuality, affirm one's more important self-attributes, evaluate one's self positively, and change toward positive self-growth. Friendship involves investments of self in a relationship characterized by the partners' voluntary interdependence and personalized concern for one another. The investment, entailing expenditures of time, personal resources, and personalized concern yields dividends experienced concretely as a partner's self-affirmation value, ego support value, stimulation value, or utility value. Several facets of friendship growth and change are considered, including the degree to which the relationship is difficult to maintain.

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