Chapter 09

Dynamical Systems Modelling: An Application to the Regulation of Intimacy and Disclosure in Marriage

Stephen M. Boker and Jean-Philippe Laurenceau

Boker and Laurenceau outlined how one type of dynamic systems model accounts for self-regulation - the process by which a phenomenon maintains equilibrium by responding to information about change in the phenomenon's state. Advances in the modeling of longitudinal data have led to the development of tests of theories based on dynamic systems interpretations of social and behavioral phenomena. A more complex dynamical systems model allows regulation in one part of a system to influence the regulation of another part of a system. For instance, one might consider a married couple a system composed of two self-regulating members. The self-regulation of feelings of intimacy of each member of a married couple might influence the self-regulation of feelings of intimacy in the other, reflecting dyadic interdependence. The work in this chapter describes a specific application of coupled differential equations models of dynamic systems applied to self-disclosure and feelings of intimacy in a sample of married couples.

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