Communication Studies


Master of Arts (MA)


Cecil Kramer


Friendship, Friendship Development, Knapp's Relational Model, Escalation Stages, Non-Westernised Socio-Cultural Worlds, Tanzanian Friendship Development Experiences, Tanzanian Friendships


Communication | Critical and Cultural Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | International and Intercultural Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Other Communication


From both theoretical and practical considerations, there is a critical need to study friendship development processes within different sociocultural worlds, because today’s world has become a crossroads for a diversity of cultures. To date, research in friendship development mainly addresses cognitive and psychological implications to the process and rarely gives attention to the stages/ processes individuals of different sociocultural backgrounds experience as they build friendship. The present study aimed at comparing friendship development in a non-Westernized group to the stages of relational development suggested by a Western psychological theoretical framework. Tanzanian friendship experiences were analyzed through Knapp’s Relational Model to see what patterns emerged as Tanzanians developed friendships. It aimed at gauging how similar or dissimilar the pattern that emerged was to the escalation stages listed in Knapp’s Relational model. The purpose of this undertaking was to address the deficiency in the literature in the area of friendship formation, especially in non-Western social worlds. A quantitative study was employed in which a 14-item survey was used to ask participants to compare their friendship experiences to the characteristics found in the theoretical framework’s escalation model. The data provide a rich picture of the underlying cultural influences on how individuals develop friendships within the Tanzanian sociocultural world. The model is validated, but only to the extent that its structure is universal, but the meanings and significance of the stages deviates from what the model suggests. The findings of this study extend previous research by broadening understanding of relationship development within different sociocultural worlds.