Chapter 24 Learning Objectives
- Describe the relationship between infant and adult temperament
- Explain personality in early adulthood
- Explain the five factor model of personality
- Describe adult attachment styles
- Describe Erikson’s stage of intimacy vs. isolation
- Identify the factors affecting attraction
- Differentiate among the types of love
- Describe adult lifestyles, including singlehood, cohabitation, and marriage
- Describe the factors that influence parenting
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Attachment in Young Adulthood
Attachment-related anxiety refers to the extent to which an adult worries about whether their partner really loves them. Those who score high on this dimension fear that their partner will reject or abandon them (Fraley, Hudson, Heffernan, & Segal, 2015). Attachment-related avoidance refers to whether an adult can open up to others, and whether they trust and feel they can depend on others. Those who score high on attachment-related avoidance are uncomfortable with opening up and may fear that such dependency may limit their sense of autonomy (Fraley et al., 2015). According to Bartholomew (1990) this would yield four possible attachment styles in adults; secure, dismissing, preoccupied, and fearful-avoidant (see Figure 7.22)
- Adults with insecure attachments report lower satisfaction in their relationships (Butzer, & Campbell, 2008; Holland, Fraley, & Roisman, 2012).
- Those high in attachment-related anxiety report more daily conflict in their relationships (Campbell, Simpson, Boldry, & Kashy, 2005).
- Those with avoidant attachment exhibit less support to their partners (Simpson, Rholes, Oriña, & Grich, 2002).
- Young adults show greater attachment-related anxiety than do middle-aged or older adults (Chopik, Edelstein, & Fraley, 2013).
- Some studies report that young adults show more attachment-related avoidance (Schindler, Fagundes, & Murdock, 2010), while other studies find that middle-aged adults show higher avoidance than younger or older adults (Chopik et al., 2013).
- Young adults with more secure and positive relationships with their parents make the transition to adulthood more easily than do those with more insecure attachments (Fraley, 2013).
- Young adults with secure attachments and authoritative parents were less likely to be depressed than those with authoritarian or permissive parents or who experienced an avoidant or ambivalent attachment (Ebrahimi, Amiri, Mohamadlou, & Rezapur, 2017).
Do people with certain attachment styles attract those with similar styles? When people are asked what kinds of psychological or behavioral qualities they are seeking in a romantic partner, a large majority of people indicate that they are seeking someone who is kind, caring, trustworthy, and understanding, that is the kinds of attributes that characterize a “secure” caregiver (Chappell & Davis, 1998). However, we know that people do not always end up with others who meet their ideals. Are secure people more likely to end up with secure partners, and, vice versa, are insecure people more likely to end up with insecure partners? The majority of the research that has been conducted to date suggests that the answer is “yes.” Frazier, Byer, Fischer, Wright, and DeBord (1996) studied the attachment patterns of more than 83 heterosexual couples and found that, if the man was relatively secure, the woman was also likely to be secure.
Do early experiences as children shape adult attachment? The majority of research on this issue is retrospective; that is, it relies on adults’ reports of what they recall about their childhood experiences. This kind of work suggests that secure adults are more likely to describe their early childhood experiences with their parents as being supportive, loving, and kind (Hazan & Shaver, 1987). A number of longitudinal studies are emerging that demonstrate prospective associations between early attachment experiences and adult attachment styles and/or interpersonal functioning in adulthood. For example, Fraley, Roisman, Booth-LaForce, Owen, and Holland (2013) found in a sample of more than 700 individuals studied from infancy to adulthood that maternal sensitivity across development prospectively predicted security at age 18. Simpson, Collins, Tran, and Haydon (2007) found that attachment security, assessed in infancy in the strange situation, predicted peer competence in grades one to three, which, in turn, predicted the quality of friendship relationships at age 16, which, in turn, predicted the expression of positive and negative emotions in their adult romantic relationships at ages 20 to 23.
Relationships with Parents and Siblings
Erikson: Intimacy vs. Isolation
Factors influencing Attraction
attraction, or what makes people like, and even love, each other.
Similarity: One important factor in attraction is a perceived similarity in values and beliefs between the partners (Davis & Rusbult, 2001). The similarity is important for relationships because it is more convenient if both partners like the same activities and because similarity supports one’s values. We can feel better about ourselves and our choice of activities if we see that our partner also enjoys doing the same things that we do. Having others like and believe in the same things we do makes us feel validated in our beliefs. This is referred to as consensual validation and is an important aspect of why we are attracted to others.
Self-Disclosure: Liking is also enhanced by self-disclosure, the tendency to communicate frequently, without fear of reprisal, and in an accepting and empathetic manner. Friends are friends because we can talk to them openly about our needs and goals and because they listen and respond to our needs (Reis & Aron, 2008). However, self-disclosure must be balanced. If we open up about the concerns that are important to us, we expect our partner to do the same in return. If the self-disclosure is not reciprocal, the relationship may not last.
Proximity: Another important determinant of liking is proximity or the extent to which people are physically near us. Research has found that we are more likely to develop friendships with people who are nearby, for instance, those who live in the same dorm that we do, and even with people who just happen to sit nearer to us in our classes (Back, Schmukle, & Egloff, 2008).
mere exposure, which is the tendency to prefer stimuli (including, but not limited to people) that we have seen more frequently. The effect of mere exposure is powerful and occurs in a wide variety of situations. Infants tend to smile at a photograph of someone they have seen before more than they smile at a photograph of someone they are seeing for the first time (Brooks-Gunn & Lewis, 1981), and people prefer side-to-side reversed images of their own faces over their normal (nonreversed) face, whereas their friends prefer their normal face over the reversed one (Mita, Dermer, & Knight, 1977). This is expected on the basis of mere exposure since people see their own faces primarily in mirrors, and thus are exposed to the reversed face more often.
Passion refers to the intense, physical attraction partners feel toward one another. Intimacy involves the ability the share feelings, psychological closeness and personal thoughts with the other. Commitment is the conscious decision to stay together. Passion can be found in the early stages of a relationship, but intimacy takes time to develop because it is based on the knowledge of the partner. Once intimacy has been established, partners may resolve to stay in the relationship. Although many would agree that all three components are important to a relationship, many love relationships do not consist of all three. Let’s look at other possibilities.
Liking: In this relationship, intimacy or knowledge of the other and a sense of closeness is present. Passion and commitment, however, are not. Partners feel free to be themselves and disclose personal information. They may feel that the other person knows them well and can be honest with them and let them know if they think the person is wrong. These partners are friends. However, being told that your partner “thinks of you as a friend” can be a devastating blow if you are attracted to them and seeking a romantic involvement.
Infatuation: Perhaps, this is Sternberg’s version of “love at first sight”. Infatuation consists of an immediate, intense physical attraction to someone. A person who is infatuated finds it hard to think of anything but the other person. Brief encounters are played over and over in one’s head; it may be difficult to eat and there may be a rather constant state of arousal. Infatuation is rather short-lived, however, lasting perhaps only a matter of months or as long as a year or so. It tends to be based on physical attraction and an image of what one “thinks” the other is all about.
Fatuous Love: However, some people who have a strong physical attraction push for commitment early in the relationship. Passion and commitment are aspects of fatuous love. There is no intimacy and the commitment is premature. Partners rarely talk seriously or share their ideas. They focus on their intense physical attraction and yet one, or both, is also talking of making a lasting commitment. Sometimes this is out of a sense of insecurity and a desire to make sure the partner is locked into the relationship.
Empty Love: This type of love may be found later in a relationship or in a relationship that was formed to meet needs other than intimacy or passion, including financial needs, childrearing assistance, or attaining/maintaining status. Here the partners are committed to staying in the relationship for the children, because of a religious conviction, or because there are no alternatives. However, they do not share ideas or feelings with each other and have no physical attraction for one another.
Romantic Love: Intimacy and passion are components of romantic love, but there is no commitment. The partners spend much time with one another and enjoy their closeness, but have not made plans to continue. This may be true because they are not in a position to make such commitments or because they are looking for passion and closeness and are afraid it will die out if they commit to one another and start to focus on other kinds of obligations.
Companionate Love: Intimacy and commitment are the hallmarks of companionate love. Partners love and respect one another and they are committed to staying together. However, their physical attraction may have never been strong or may have just died out over time. Nevertheless, partners are good friends and committed to one another.
Consummate Love: Intimacy, passion, and commitment are present in consummate love. This is often perceived by western cultures as “the ideal” type of love. The couple shares passion; the spark has not died, and the closeness is there. They feel like best friends, as well as lovers, and they are committed to staying together.
Singlehood: Being single is the most common lifestyle for people in their early 20s, and there has been an increase in the number of adults staying single. In 1960, only about 1 in 10 adults age 25 or older had never been married, in 2012 that had risen to 1 in 5 (Wang & Parker, 2014). While just over half (53%) of unmarried adults say they would eventually like to get married, 32 percent are not sure, and 13 percent do not want to get married. It is projected that by the time current young adults reach their mid-40s and 50s, almost 25% of them may not have married. The U.S. is not the only country to see a rise in the number of single adults.
- “Society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority.”
- “Society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children”
Hooking Up: United States demographic changes have significantly affected the romantic relationships among emerging and early adults. As previously described, the age for puberty has declined, while the times for one’s first marriage and first child have been pushed to older ages. This results in a “historically unprecedented time gap where young adults are physiologically able to reproduce, but not psychologically or socially ready to settle down and begin a family and child-rearing,” (Garcia, Reiber, Massey, & Merriwether, 2012, p. 172). Consequently, according to Bogle (2007, 2008) traditional forms of dating have shifted to more casual hookups that involve uncommitted sexual encounters.
Friends with Benefits: Hookups are different than those relationships that involve continued mutual exchange. These relationships are often referred to as Friends with Benefits (FWB) or “Booty Calls.” These relationships involve friends having casual sex without commitment.
Hooking up Gender Differences: When asked about their motivation for hooking up, both males and females indicated physical gratification, emotional gratification, and a desire to initiate a romantic relationship as reasons (Garcia & Reiber, 2008). Although males and females are more similar than different in their sexual behaviors, a consistent finding among the research is that males demonstrate a greater permissiveness to casual sex (Oliver & Hyde, 1993). In another study involving 16,288 individuals across 52 nations, males reported a greater desire of sexual partner variety than females, regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation (Schmitt et al., 2003). This difference can be attributed to gender role expectations for both males and females regarding sexual promiscuity. Additionally, the risks of sexual behavior are higher for females and include unplanned pregnancy, increased sexually transmitted diseases, and susceptibility to sexual violence (Garcia et al., 2012).
Emotional Consequences of Hooking up: Concerns regarding hooking up behavior certainly are evident in the research literature. One significant finding is the high comorbidity of hooking up and substance use. Those engaging in non-monogamous sex are more likely to have used marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol, and the overall risks of sexual activity are drastically increased with the addition of alcohol and drugs (Garcia et al., 2012). Regret has also been expressed, and those who had the most regret after hooking up also had more symptoms of depression (Welsh, Grello, & Harper, 2006). Hookups were also found to lower self-esteem, increase guilt, and foster feelings of using someone or feeling used. Females displayed more negative reactions than males, and this may be due to females identifying more emotional involvement in sexual encounters than males.
gratification. However, they also want a more committed romantic relationship and may feel regret with uncommitted sex.
Online Dating: The ways people are finding love has changed with the advent of the Internet. Nearly 50 million Americans have tried an online dating website or mobile app (Bryant & Sheldon, 2017). Online dating has also increased dramatically among those aged 18 to 24. Today, one in five emerging adults report using a mobile dating app, while in 2013 only 5% did, and 27% report having used online dating, almost triple the rate in 2013 (Smith & Anderson, 2016).
As Finkel, Burnette, and Scissors (2007) found, social networking sites and the Internet perform three important tasks. Specifically, sites provide individuals with access to a database of other individuals who are interested in meeting someone. Dating sites generally reduce issues of proximity, as individuals do not have to be close in proximity to meet. Also, they provide a medium in which individuals can communicate with others. Finally, some Internet dating websites advertise special matching strategies, based on factors such as personality, hobbies, and interests, to identify the “perfect match” for people looking for love online. Social networking sites have provided opportunities for meeting others you would not have normally met. According to a recent survey of couples who met online versus offline (Brown, 2019), those who met online tended to have slightly different levels of education, and political views from their partners, but, the biggest difference was that they were much more likely to come from different racial and ethnic backgrounds (see Figure 7.27). This is not surprising as the average age of the couples who met online was 36, while the average age of couples who met offline was 51. Young adults are more likely to a relationship with people who are different from them, regardless of how they met.
Catfishing refers to “a deceptive activity involving the creation of a fake online profile for deceptive purposes” (Smith, Smith, & Blazka, 2017, p. 33). Notre Dame University linebacker Manti Ta’o fell victim to a catfishing scam. The young woman “Kekua” who he had struck up an online relationship with was a hoax, and he was not the first person to have been scammed by this fictitious woman. A number of US states have passed legislation to address online impersonation, from stealing the information and creating a fake account of a real person to the creation of a fictitious persona with the intent to defraud or harm others (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2017).
Cohabitation: In American society, as well as in a number of other cultures, cohabitation has become increasingly commonplace (Gurrentz, 2018). For many emerging adults, cohabitation has become more commonplace than marriage, as can be seen in Figures 7.28. While marriage is still a more common living arrangement for those 25-34, cohabitation has increased, while marriage has declined, as can be seen in Figure 7.29. Gurrentz also found that cohabitation varies by socioeconomic status. Those who are married tend to have higher levels of education, and thus higher earnings, or earning potential.
Three explanations have been given for the rise of cohabitation in Western cultures. The first notes that the increase in individualism and secularism, and the resulting decline in religious observance, has led to greater acceptance and adoption of cohabitation (Lesthaeghe & Surkyn, 1988). Moreover, the more people view cohabitating couples, the more normal this relationship becomes, and the more couples who will then cohabitate. Thus, cohabitation is both a cause and the effect of greater cohabitation.Three explanations have been given for the rise of cohabitation in Western cultures. The first notes that the increase in individualism and secularism, and the resulting decline in religious observance, has led to greater acceptance and adoption of cohabitation (Lesthaeghe & Surkyn, 1988).
equality and sexual freedom, with marriage, no longer being the only long-term relationship option (Bumpass, 1990). A final explanation suggests that the change in employment requirements, with many jobs now requiring more advanced education, has led to a competition between marriage and pursuing post-secondary education (Yu & Xie, 2015). This might account for the increase in the age of first marriage in many nations. Taken together, the greater acceptance of premarital sex, and the economic and educational changes would lead to a transition in relationships. Overall, cohabitation may become a step in the courtship processor may, for some, replace marriage altogether.
Cohabitation in Non-Western Cultures, The Philippines and China: Similar to other nations, young people in the Philippines are more likely to delay marriage, to cohabitate, and to engage in premarital sex as compared to previous generations (Williams, Kabamalan, & Ogena, 2007).
Marriage Worldwide: Cohen (2013) reviewed data assessing most of the world’s countries and found that marriage has declined universally during the last several decades. This decline has occurred in both poor and rich countries, however, the countries with the biggest drops in marriage were mostly rich: France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the U.S. Cohen states that the decline is not only due to individuals delaying marriage but also because of high rates of non- marital cohabitation. Delayed or reduced marriage is associated with higher income and lower fertility rates that are reflected worldwide.
Marriage in the United States: In 1960, 72% of adults age 18 or older were married, in 2010 this had dropped to barely half (Wang & Taylor, 2011). At the same time, the age of first marriage has been increasing for both men and women. In 1960, the average age for first marriage was 20 for women and 23 for men. By 2010 this had increased to 26.5 for women and nearly 29 for men (see Figure 7.30). Many of the explanations for increases in singlehood and cohabitation previously given can also account for the drop and delay in marriage.
Same-Sex Marriage: On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees same-sex marriage. The decision indicated that limiting marriage to only heterosexual couples violated the 14th amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. This ruling occurred 11 years after same-sex marriage was first made legal in Massachusetts, and at the time of the high court decision, 36 states and the District of Columbia had legalized same-sex marriage. Worldwide, 29 countries currently have national laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry (Pew Research Center, 2019). As can be seen in Table 7.8, these countries are located mostly in Europe and the Americas.
Cultural Influences on Marriage: Many cultures have both explicit and unstated rules that specify who is an appropriate mate. Consequently, mate selection is not completely left to the individual. Rules of endogamy indicate the groups we should marry within and those we should not marry in (Witt, 2009). For example, many cultures specify that people marry within their own race, social class, age group, or religion. Endogamy reinforces the cohesiveness of the group. Additionally, these rules encourage homogamy or marriage between people who share social characteristics. The majority of marriages in the U. S. are homogamous with respect to race, social class, age and to a lesser extent, religion. Homogamy is also seen in couples with similar personalities and interests.
Arranged Marriages and Elopement: Historically, marriage was not a personal choice, but one made by one’s family. Arranged marriages often ensured proper transference of a family’s wealth and the support of ethnic and religious customs. Such marriages were a marriage of families rather than of individuals. In Western Europe, starting in the 18th century the notion of personal choice in a marital partner slowly became the norm. Arranged marriages were seen as “traditional” and marriages based on love “modern”. Many of these early “love” marriages were obtained by eloping (Thornton, 2005).
Marital Arrangements in India: As the number of arranged marriages in India is declining, elopement is increasing. Allendorf’s (2013) study of a rural village in India, describes the elopement process. In many cases, the female leaves her family home and goes to the male’s home, where she stays with him and his parents. After a few days, a member of his family will inform her family of her whereabouts and gain consent for the marriage. In other cases, where the couple anticipates some degree of opposition to the union, the couple may run away without the knowledge of either family, often going to a relative of the male. After a few days, the couple comes back to the home of his parents, where at that point consent is sought from both families. Although, in some cases, families may sever all ties with their child or encourage him or her to abandon the relationship, typically, they agree to the union as the couple has spent time together overnight. Once consent has been given, the couple lives with his family and are considered married. A more formal ceremony takes place a few weeks or months later.
travel, and general Westernization of ideas. Besides India, China, Nepal, and several nations in Southeast Asia have seen a decline in the number of arranged marriages, and an increase in elopement or couples choosing their own partners with their families’ blessings (Allendorf, 2013).
Predictors of Marital Harmony: Advice on how to improve one’s marriage is centuries old. One of today’s experts on marital communication is John Gottman. Gottman (1999) differs from many marriage counselors in his belief that having a good marriage does not depend on compatibility. Rather, the way that partners communicate with one another is crucial. At the University of Washington in Seattle, Gottman has measured the physiological responses of thousands of couples as they discuss issues of disagreement. Fidgeting is one’s chair, leaning closer to or further away from the partner while speaking, and increases in respiration and heart rate are all recorded and analyzed along with videotaped recordings of the partners’ exchanges. Gottman believes he can accurately predict whether or not a couple will stay together by analyzing their communication. In marriages destined to fail, partners engage in the “marriage killers”: Contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Each of these undermines the politeness and respect that healthy marriages require. Stonewalling, or shutting someone out, is the strongest sign that a relationship is destined to fail.
Accumulated Positive Deposits: When there is a positive balance of relationship deposits this can help the overall relationship in times of conflict. For instance, some research indicates that a husband’s level of enthusiasm in everyday marital interactions was related to a wife’s affection in the midst of conflict (Driver & Gottman, 2004), showing that being pleasant and making deposits can change the nature of the conflict. Also, Gottman and Levenson (1992) found that couples rated as having more pleasant interactions, compared with couples with less pleasant interactions, reported marital problems as less severe, higher marital satisfaction, better physical health, and less risk for divorce. Finally, Janicki, Kamarck, Shiffman, and Gwaltney (2006) showed that the intensity of conflict with a spouse predicted marital satisfaction unless there was a record of positive partner interactions, in which case the conflict did not matter as much.
Intimate Partner Abuse
situational couple violence, which is the violence that results when heated conflict escalates, and intimate terrorism, in which one partner consistently uses fear and violence to dominate the other (Bosson, et al., 2019). Men and women equally use and experience situational couple violence, while men are more likely to use intimate terrorism than are women. Consistent with this, a national survey described below, found that female victims of intimate partner violence experience different patterns of violence, such as rape, severe physical violence, and stalking than male victims, who most often experienced more slapping, shoving, and pushing.
- Nearly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experienced some form of contact sexual violence during their lifetime.
- Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 39 men have been raped in their lifetime.
- Approximately 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men experienced sexual coercion (e.g., sexual pressure from someone in authority, or being worn down by requests for sex).
- Almost 1 in 5 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, while 1 in 7 men have experienced the same.
- 1 in 6 women has been stalked during their lifetime, compared to 1 in 19 men.
- More than 1 in 4 women and more than 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner and reported significant short- or long-term impacts, such as post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and injury.
- An estimated 1 in 3 women experienced at least one act of psychological aggression by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
- Men and women who experienced these forms of violence were more likely to report frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty with sleeping, activity limitations, poor physical health, and poor mental health than men and women who did not experience these forms of violence.
Influences on Parenting: Parenting is a complex process in which parents and children influence on another. There are many reasons that parents behave the way they do. The multiple influences on parenting are still being explored. Proposed influences on parenting include Parent characteristics, child characteristics, and contextual can sociocultural characteristics. (Belsky, 1984; Demick, 1999).
Parent Characteristics: Parents bring unique traits and qualities to the parenting relationship that affect their decisions as parents. These characteristics include the age of the parent, gender, beliefs, personality, developmental history, knowledge about parenting and child development, and mental and physical health. Parents’ personalities affect parenting behaviors. Mothers and fathers who are more agreeable, conscientious, and outgoing are warmer and provide more structure to their children. Parents who are more agreeable, less anxious, and less negative also support their children’s autonomy more than parents who are anxious and less agreeable (Prinzie, Stams, Dekovic, Reijntes, & Belsky, 2009). Parents who have these personality traits appear to be better able to respond to their children positively and provide a more consistent, structured environment for their children.
Child Characteristics: Parenting is bidirectional. Not only do parents affect their children, but children also influence their parents. Child characteristics, such as gender, birth order, temperament, and health status, affect parenting behaviors and roles. For example, an infant with an easy temperament may enable parents to feel more effective, as they are easily able to soothe the child and elicit smiling and cooing. On the other hand, a cranky or fussy infant elicits fewer positive reactions from his or her parents and may result in parents feeling less effective in the parenting role (Eisenberg et al., 2008). Over time, parents of more difficult children may become more punitive and less patient with their children (Clark, Kochanska, & Ready, 2000; Eisenberg et al., 1999; Kiff, Lengua, & Zalewski, 2011). Parents who have a fussy, difficult child are less satisfied with their marriages and have greater challenges in balancing work and family roles (Hyde, Else-Quest, & Goldsmith, 2004). Thus, child temperament, as previously discussed in chapter 3, is one of the child characteristics that influence how parents behave with their children.
Contextual Factors and Sociocultural Characteristics: The parent-child relationship does not occur in isolation. Sociocultural characteristics, including economic hardship, religion, politics, neighborhoods, schools, and social support, also influence parenting. Parents who experience economic hardship are more easily frustrated, depressed, and sad, and these emotional characteristics affect their parenting skills (Conger & Conger, 2002). Culture also influences parenting behaviors in fundamental ways. Although promoting the development of skills necessary to function effectively in one’s community is a universal goal of parenting, the specific skills necessary vary widely from culture to culture. Thus, parents have different goals for their children that partially depend on their culture (Tamis-LeMonda et al., 2008). Parents vary in how much they emphasize goals for independence and individual achievements, maintaining harmonious relationships, and being embedded in a strong network of social relationships. Other important contextual characteristics, such as the neighborhood, school, and social networks, also affect parenting, even though these settings do not always include both the child and the parent (Brofenbrenner, 1989). Culture is also a contributing contextual factor, as discussed previously in chapter four. For example, Latina mothers who perceived their neighborhood as more dangerous showed less warmth with their children, perhaps because of the greater stress associated with living a threatening environment (Gonzales et al., 2011). The different influences are shown in Figure 7.35.
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Lifespan Development: A Psychological Perspective Second Edition by Martha Lally and Suzanne Valentine-French under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 unported license.