Social and Interpersonal Functioning
Interpersonal styles greatly affect social functioning, which in turn has a large impact on both work- and leisure-time function-ing. Distinctive individual personality styles affect a person’s perception of the importance of relationships with others as well as the quality and depth of the bonds they can form. Those with solitary traits are unlikely to crave and seek close relationships, whereas those with a devoted style become uneasy and feel in-complete if they are not with others. Vigilant people are cautious of the attentions of others, whereas dramatic types thrive on the admiration of their peers. Those who are mercurial often run “hot” and “cold” in their relationships with others, sometimes ex-pressing their feelings in ways that offend others; sensitive types are easily affected by the perspectives and behavior of others but tend to keep their feelings to themselves.
The Social Adjustment Scale (Weissman et al., 1974, 2001) provides a quantitative way to investigate several types of inter-personal functioning (Table 20.5) including a person’s relation-ships with family of origin, spouse or partner, children, work colleagues, and friends and acquaintances. Inherent in these assessments of functioning is an assumption that to be success-ful, relationships should be interpersonally relatively free of fric-tion and arguments, reciprocal and supportive. In addition, each person’s experience of the relationship should be comfortable and relatively conflict free.
Benjamin’s Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (Figure 20.2) provides another means of assessing recurrent pat-terns in a person’s interactions with others (Benjamin, 1986b). It has three dimensions: 1) the focus of the interaction; 2) the tone of the interaction (loving versus hating); and 3) whether the interaction is characterized by interdependence or independence. The focus in the Structural Analysis of Social Behavior can be on another person, on oneself in relation to another person, or on inward, internal aspects of the self. The Structural Analysis of Social Behavior is widely used in research settings to describe and quantify a person’s mode of interpersonal functioning in various relationships.