Knapp's Model of Interaction Stages

Knapp's Model of Interaction Stages
Coming up next: Attraction Theory: Definition, Measurements & Effects

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Knapp's Relationship Model
  • 0:50 Relationship Escalation Model
  • 3:42 Knapp's Relationship…
  • 6:12 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jade Mazarin

Jade is a board certified Christian counselor with an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a certification in Natural Health. She is also a freelance writer on emotional health and spirituality.

All relationships have a similar framework in how they develop and end. Professor Mark Knapp studied this pattern and outlined ten stages that explain it.

Knapp's Relationship Model

We have all different types of relationships in our lives: friendships, romantic relationships, family relationships, and those we have with our coworkers. While each of these relationships have varied features, they also have a basic framework in common. Specifically, each of these relationships follow a similar pattern in how they are formed, how they are maintained, and then how they end, for those that do.

Mark Knapp, a professor at the University of Texas, studied the pattern of relationships and outlined ten steps to describe it. Five of these steps refer to the creation of relationships and five refer to its ending. This theory of relationship development and dissolution is referred to as both Knapp's relationship model and Knapp's model of interaction.

Relationship Escalation Model

Knapp described five stages that people progress through as they develop any kind relationship, whether it be a romantic or friend-based one. These five stages make up the first half of his theory, the relationship escalation model. The stages include initiation, experimentation, intensifying, integration, and bonding.

Meet Bill and Rosie. Let's follow them as they proceed to move through Knapp's five stages of relationship development and then through his five stages of termination.

Initiation

Rosie has just shown up at a restaurant to meet her blind date, Bill. They greet each other, observe each other's appearance, and spend the next two hours talking about their jobs, families, and interests. This initial period of meeting and getting to know one another is referred to as initiation. According to Knapp, the focus of this stage is meeting and making a positive impression. Both Bill and Rosie put a great deal of effort into looking nice. As they spoke, they tried to present themselves as successful, funny, and kind people.

Experimentation

Rosie and Bill continue to see each other. They've been getting together sometime each week, going out to dinner and going to events together. They are learning more about each other's personality and seeing if they share enough interests and values. Bill and Rosie are in the experimentation stage, which means they are taking time to get to know each other in order to see if they should move forward in their relationship.

Intensifying

Rosie and Bill have just entered a committed relationship. They are intentionally nurturing their relationship and have decided to not see anyone else. They have been sharing more personal information with each other like details about their family issues and past mistakes. This stage is called intensifying and describes the beginning of relational and emotional investment.

Integration

It is clear that Rosie and Bill are in love with each other and interested in their future together. They are with each other every day and they are discussing plans for marriage and family. Bill is secretly planning on proposing to Rosie next month. During this stage of integration, the couple has reached a deep level of commitment and emotional investment.

Bonding

It's Rosie and Bill's wedding day. They have developed the utmost closeness and are committing to each other in front of friends and family in a connection that is not easily broken. This is the time in their relationship that displays bonding, or a public display of legal commitment that can only be broken by a formal agreement.

Knapp's Relationship Termination Model

The rest of Bill and Rosie's story describes the second half of Knapp's model of interaction, the relationship termination model. Just as he proposed five stages of relationship development, he also outlined five stages of relationship dissolution, when the relationship breaks down. These stages include differentiating, circumscribing, stagnation, avoidance, and terminating.

Differentiating

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support