DeVito's Six-Stage Model of Relationship Development Video

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  • 0:05 Relationships
  • 0:43 Early Stages
  • 1:34 Stage Three
  • 2:04 Stages Four and Five
  • 2:52 Stage Six
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

Different relationships have different stages, according to DeVito's Six-Stage Model of Relationship Development. We take a look at those stages here.


Relationships are essential to human society. No matter what, we all experience them and they have a major impact on us. If you ever went through a bad breakup, or even had a fight with a close friend, you know exactly what I'm talking about. However, it is possible to assess where a relationship is and where it could be going.

Using DeVito's Six Stage Model of Relationship Development, which provides six distinct groupings for relationships of all types, we are able to assess where a relationship is, what its future will be, and how we can influence the outcome. In this lesson, we'll exam each of the six levels of the model, looking especially at key points that show where the relationship is.

Early Stages

You meet someone cute who smiles back at you. You realize that the woman in front of you at the store has your same sense of style or you find out that the guy you work with is also into video games. No matter what, there is a sense of unknown and excitement when you reach the contact stage, where you have just made a connection with someone. You don't have a lot invested in the relationship but you are trying to make that decision of whether or not getting to know this person is a good idea. It happens quickly but is crucial to what we end up thinking of a person.

If we decide that we are interested in the person in front of us, whether as a friend or as a love interest, we move on to involvement, which is actually getting to know the person. So it turns out that the cute person at the coffee shop wants to have dinner with you or that you and the sports fan have plans to watch the game together. In any event, this is the point where you start to put some effort into the relationship.

Stage Three

As a relationship continues to grow and develop, it enters the third stage of relationship development- the intimacy stage. Here, you really start to confide in a person. They transcend just being a friend your dating and become your partner or maybe you have a new best friend. In any event, this is now someone who you trust and you're willing to open up about things that bother you. You complain about work, or about your romantic partners' in-laws, with no fear of judgment. After all, you really care for this person and they care for you.

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