Family & Intimate Relationships

Course Number: PSY 222
Transcript Title: Family & Intimate Relationship
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: June 10, 2016
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: Yes
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.

Course Description

Explores processes involved in both traditional and non-traditional relationships and families; including love, cohabitation, dating, marriage, parenting, communication and conflict resolution, sexuality, balancing work and family, domestic violence, divorce, remarriage and blended families. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate scientific research (including electronic and peer-reviewed databases) and media reports concerning intimate relationships in order to make more informed decisions about one’s own relationships.
  2. Apply knowledge about cultural differences in relationship patterns to better understand and appreciate diverse belief systems in one’s own and others’ relationships.
  3. Use knowledge of communication, conflict resolution, sexuality, power, attraction, and social cognition to establish, develop and maintain satisfying intimate relationships.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)


3. Apply the knowledge, skills and abilities to enter and succeed in a defined profession or advanced academic program. (Professional Competence)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  1. Written assignments or oral reports designed to integrate course material into personal experience or relationship experiences of others.
  2. Exams comprised of essay and/or objective questions which require integration, application, and critical examination of course concepts, issues, and themes.
  3. Participation in class discussions, role-plays, case studies, work-shops, or other group exercises geared toward critical analysis of course concepts.
  4. Individual or group presentations.
  5. Design and implementation of research projects.
  6. Participation in and critical analysis of relationship issues or concepts related to a service learning project.
  7. Attendance at, or participation in lectures, workshops, or other community or campus events related to the field of intimate relationships.

Course Activities and Design

Course activities are the same as the above assessments.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Analyze past relationship choices in the context of level of self-awareness, looking at the degree to which the choice was proactive, consistent with personal values, and the outcome of the choice; become more proactive in current relationship choices.
  2. Identify values inherent in favorite media sources, along with the way these values are portrayed in characters’ behavior, perceptions, and relationship choices.
  3. Compare and contrast American colonial families, slave families, Native American families in terms of family practices and values; recognize the impact of industrialization on the family; compare and contrast research findings regarding basic values and family nor in American families with diverse ethnic backgrounds.
  4. Analyze current or recent relationship in terms of theories of love; identify changes in relationship patterns as a relationship progresses.
  5. Analyze a relationship in terms of homogamy and/or social exchange theory; discuss research findings regarding effects of cohabitation on subsequent marriage; identify important issues in breaking up.
  6. Identify the changes in feelings and behaviors during the first year of marriage, along with developmental tasks in marriage, and marital issues over the lifespan.
  7. Analyze personal sexual script and sexual identity in terms of sexual orientation and sexual expectations and norms.
  8. Recognize various sources of gender role socialization; identify personal views regarding traditional/egalitarian gender roles in intimate relationships; understand issues surrounding gender and power.
  9. Recognize impact of communication skills on relationship satisfaction; identify gender-based communication styles in current or recent relationship; utilize "I" messages in giving feedback; demonstrate working knowledge of a variety of effective listening and conflict resolution styles.
  10. Demonstrate working knowledge of issues regarding division of labor in relationships, impact of role strain on relationships, various strategies for balancing work and family, and research findings regarding the effects of day care on children.
  11. Demonstrate awareness of wide range of choices regarding parenting, including childfree relationships, adoption, and deferred parenthood. Discuss the impact of children on relationship satisfaction. Apply various parenting strategies to a variety of case studies in parenting.
  12. Discuss correlates to family violence, reasons that people remain in abusive relationships, sources of support for survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence, and effects of domestic violence on children.
  13. Discuss major causal factors in divorce, stages in the divorce process, economic and psychological consequences of divorce, issues in co-parenting, and research findings regarding effects of divorce on children.
  14. Recognize major challenges and benefits of single-parent families and blended families.
  15. Identify common strengths in healthy long-term relationships and apply them to a personal relationship or case study.
  16. Interview a couple who has been in a committed relationship for more than 10 years, and analyze various aspects of the couple’s relationship in terms of similarity to or deviation from research findings and issues included in the course material.
  17. Perform an analysis of one’s own intimate relationship(s) in light of Gottman’s principles of successful marriages.
  18. Understand the influences on and influences of romantic love in one’s personal relationship decisions.
  19. Demonstrate an ability to find and critically evaluate research/information about family and intimate relationships via electronic means; to include peer-reviewed databases and the worldwide web.