The effect of Romeo and Juliet

Condemnation from family and friends do not strengthens the relationship between lovers, as previously thought, but rather spoils their love, thus forcing him to leave.

In 1972 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published an article in which the authors described the psychological situation in a loving relationship, called "the effect of Romeo and Juliet". Knowing the plot of Shakespeare's tragedy, you can guess what it is: if older relatives – for example, parents actively against romantic relationships between children, such relationships will only increase. That is, parental resentment and anger have the opposite effect, children are stronger in love with each other.

The idea was extremely attractive, and the name was picked up extremely successful, so it is not surprising that "the effect of Romeo and Juliet" was in hundreds of journal publications and book publications. Over time, however, some scientists began to treat him with skepticism because the data from other research clearly was at odds with the concept of gain love because of opposition from parents.

As he writes in his article in The Conversation ( Justin Lehmiller (Justin Lehmiller), a psychologist from Harvard University, he over the last 10 years published three works in which quite convincingly proved the untenability of "the effect of Romeo and Juliet". If relatives or even friends some couples perceive negatively the existing relations, these relations begin to weaken until the point of exploding. Moreover, a bad attitude from friends and family affects psychological and physical state of those whom they condemn. So "the effect of Romeo and Juliet" in actual fact not.

But what about the above data so everyone liked? It turned out that no one double-checked received forty years ago results. And now a group of psychologists from the University of Mississippi and the University of Texas at Austin decided to reproduce the original study in 1972. They asked nearly four hundred adults, either married or just living in a couple, to answer a series of questions about their relationship with each other and with relatives. First, the psychologists asked the volunteers as to their status are parents, take or do not take the second half. Then, four months later, everyone had to talk about how things already operate on the relationship, how he and she love each other and how much they are willing to commit themselves to each other.

The authors published their findings in Social Psychology. It turned out that the better the parents treat the "relationship", the more love and understanding was paired four months later, both the couple and those who just met. If the parents were opposed, and the level of love the couple fell. However, this was only true for married. If a couple just met, on the basis of parental negativity, it was impossible to say how the lovers will continue to develop relationships: love could be stronger, could be weaker, could not be changed.

That is, the results of 1972 has not reproduced. Why it happened, can be explained by too low statistics, which relied on the work: in the first study involved 140 couples i.e., 280 people, and in the new – 396. However, the difference in the number of participants doesn't seem so big. On the other hand, let's not forget that the time range between the two works is several decades. But the relationship between people greatly depend on the cultural and social situation of the time in which we live. It is possible that in 70 years social psychologists could quite validly observe "the effect of Romeo and Juliet," and now it simply disappeared from the relationship.

However, as in any science, the results speak only about the average situation, this means that one couple, difficulties with their parents may hope that their love will grow from these difficulties stronger.

Cyril Stasevich



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