Ellen Berscheid, Elaine Hatfield, and the Emergence of Relationship Science

Harry T. Reis, Arthur Aron, Margaret S. Clark, Eli J. Finkel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In the past 25 years, relationship science has grown from a nascent research area to a thriving subdiscipline of psychological science. In no small measure, this development reflects the pioneering contributions of Ellen Berscheid and Elaine Hatfield. Beginning at a time when relationships did not appear on the map of psychological science, these two scholars identified relationships as a crucial subject for scientific psychology and began to chart its theoretical and empirical territory. In this article, we review several of their most influential contributions, describing the innovative foundation they built as well as the manner in which this foundation helped set the stage for contemporary advances in knowledge about relationships. We conclude by discussing the broader relevance of this work for psychological science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-572
Number of pages15
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • family
  • interpersonal relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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