chapter  9
12 Pages

Death Threat, Parental Loss, and Interpersonal Style: A Personal Construct Investigation

In personal construct theory (Kelly, 1955), highly intimate relationships (ROLE relationships; see Leitner, 1985) are based on core role constructs. Briefly, constructs are the lenses through which we see the world and anticipate events; they are the result of the construing process of seeing how things are alike and different from other things. Bipolar, dichotomous constructs result from the process and provide meaning for the individual interpreter. Thus, the process of construing allows the individual to extract meaning from the world that can be highly personal and unique. Some personal constructs, core role constructs, govern and maintain a person's sense of social identity and existence in the world. ROLE relationships involve understanding the other person's core role constructs and engaging in interpersonal actions based on that understanding. In order to distinguish between the traditional use of role (as mere social prescriptions of behaviors) and Kelly's notion of relationships based on core role constructs, Leitner (1985) has adopted the use of all capitals (ROLE). Such relationships are not entered into lightly; it is through ROLE relationships that we define who we are and who we would like to be. ROLE relationships are not simply following socially prescribed roles given to us by society.