John G Holmes

John G Holmes
University of Waterloo | UWaterloo · Department of Psychology

About

119
Publications
131,331
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Introduction

Publications

Publications (119)
Article
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Romantic relationships activate a process of psychological attunement whereby self-esteem becomes responsive to the romantic bond, thereby potentially benefitting relationship quality and bolstering self-esteem. Yet some people are romantically single, raising the question: Do single people also exhibit psychological attunement? In a 2-year longitu...
Poster
Both high quality friendship and romantic bonds are essential for well-being. Yet, during emerging adulthood, these bonds compete for importance (Rawlins, 1992). We followed two-hundred and fifty undergraduates over two years to examine how relationship status (single vs. partnered) influenced friendship quality over time. We hypothesized that frie...
Article
Expressing our innermost thoughts and feelings is critical to the development of intimacy (Reis & Shaver, 1988), but also risks negative evaluation and rejection. Past research suggests that people with high self-esteem are more expressive and self-disclosing because they trust that others care for them and will not reject them (Gaucher et al., 201...
Article
One way that relationship partners express positive regard – a key variable in relationship success – is through compliments. However, some people are unable to perceive positive regard through compliments. We hypothesized that low self-esteem (LSE) individuals' relatively negative self-theories conflict with the positive information conveyed in co...
Article
Because romantic partners are rarely perfectly suited to one another, threats to commitment usually arise. A model of motivation-management is presented to explain how couples sustain mutual feelings of commitment. It states that people can protect commitment by practicing three ‘if–then’ rules for mitigating threats: Justifying costs, ensuring mut...
Article
A new equilibrium model of relationship maintenance is proposed. People can protect relationship bonds by practicing 3 threat-mitigation rules: Trying to accommodate when a partner is hurtful, ensuring mutual dependence, and resisting devaluing a partner who impedes one's personal goals. A longitudinal study of newlyweds revealed evidence for the e...
Article
Partner responsiveness-the degree to which partners respond with caring, understanding, and validation to one another's disclosures (Reis, Clark, & Holmes, 2004; Reis & Shaver, 1988)-has been heralded as a "core, defining construct" in relationship science (Reis, 2007, p. 28). Yet little is known about the determinants of responsiveness in ongoing...
Article
Full-text available
This research examines whether acceptance messages from close others about one's weight predict changes in stressful weight concern and body mass index (BMI) over time. Participants reported weight concern and BMI in three waves of data collection spanning approximately 9 months, and reported the messages they received from parents, friends, and ro...
Article
We examine the possibility that people can leverage their “relationship” with God as a stand-in for interpersonal relationships. More specifically, we hypothesize that people will seek closeness with the divine when facing the threat of interpersonal rejection and that conversely, they will seek interpersonal closeness when facing the threat of div...
Article
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It can be challenging for support providers to facilitate effective social support interactions even when they have the best intentions. In the current paper we examine some reasons for this difficulty, with a focus on support recipients’ self-esteem as a crucial variable. We predicted that recipients’ receptiveness to support would be influenced b...
Article
Full-text available
How people interpret the meaning of minor relationship transgressions can impact broader relationship well-being. It is proposed that picturing relationship transgressions from a third-person (vs. first-person) visual perspective prompts people to think of them in the context of their chronic relationship beliefs and goals. In doing so, individuals...
Article
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This research explored the possibility of feeling over-idealized, or ‘‘put on a pedestal’’ by a partner, examining whether there is an optimal level of perceived idealization, such that too little or too much is detrimental. Perceived over-idealization was manipulated experimentally with 99 dating couples (Study 1), and in surveys of 89 married (St...
Article
A daily diary study of married couples tested the hypothesis that automatic partner attitudes regulate self-protection for low, but not high, self-esteem people. For 14 days both partners reported trust in the other’s caring and perceived and actual rejecting and selfish behavior. On days after low self-esteem people reported less trust in their pa...
Article
Disclosing positive experiences to others (i.e., “capitalization”) is associated with personal and interpersonal benefits (Gable & Reis, 2010). Unfortunately, people who perceive low self-esteem (LSE) in close others are reluctant to capitalize, holding back from those they expect will be unsupportive (MacGregor & Holmes, 2011). In Study 1, we exte...
Article
Full-text available
Whereas some research has found that low self-esteem individuals (LSEs) with high implicit self-esteem fare better psychologically than those with low implicit self-esteem, other research has found they fare worse. In an attempt to integrate and extend this work, we propose that the well-being of LSEs with high implicit self-esteem is responsive to...
Article
A contextual model of self-protection is proposed to explain when adhering to cautious “if–then” rules in daily interaction erodes marital satisfaction. People can self-protect against partner non-responsiveness by distancing when a partner seems rejecting, promoting a partner's dependence when feeling unworthy, or by devaluing a partner in the fac...
Article
A dynamic model of how trust regulates relationship promotion is proposed. The model assumes that trust has both impulsive (i.e., automatic attitude toward the partner) and reflective (i.e., beliefs about the partner's caring) forms. Because overriding evaluative impulses requires self-regulatory resources, the model further posits that self-regula...
Article
When individuals look into a romantic partner's eyes, what image of themselves do they see? Does the image that reflects back affirm their hopes and aspirations for themselves and their relationships? Or does it confirm their own self-doubts or uncertainties? As James intuited, such looking-glass selves are critical because individuals seem to base...
Article
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When presenting themselves to others, people attempt to create the impression that they possess socially desired traits. Verbally claiming to possess such traits is relatively simple, but making good on one’s promises by actually behaving in kind is more challenging. In particular, lower self-esteem individuals' relational insecurity may undermine...
Article
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Baumeister, Tice, and Hutton proposed that individuals with low self-esteem (LSEs) adopt a more cautious, self-protective self-presentational style than individuals with high self-esteem (HSEs). The authors predicted that LSEs' self-protectiveness leads them to be less expressive--less revealing of their thoughts and feelings--with others than HSEs...
Article
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This article explores how self-esteem and executive resources interact to determine responses to motivational conflict. One correlational and 3 experimental studies investigated the hypothesis that high and low self-esteem people undertake different self-regulatory strategies in "risky" situations that afford opportunity to pursue competing goals a...
Article
This chapter explores how trust functions as a motivational gatekeeper in close relationships. In this role, trust regulates whether people prioritize seeking connection (i.e., approach) or avoiding rejection (i.e., avoidance). Part One describes five evidential cues that signal one's special value to the partner, and thus foster more (or less) tru...
Article
This chapter reviews major theoretical positions on the influence of situations and personality in social psychology. We review the history and current status of this debate and we describe in some detail two recent theories that seem particularly amenable toward resolving it. Broadly considered, our position is that personality and situations must...
Article
Ample evidence suggests that the behavior of people with low self-esteem (LSEs) can lead to problems in close relationships. To the authors' knowledge, however, no research has investigated the role that perceptions of close others' self-esteem play in undermining beneficial relational processes. In this article, the authors propose that capitaliza...
Article
Full-text available
A consequential ideology in Western society is the uncontested belief that a committed relationship is the most important adult relationship and that almost all people want to marry or seriously couple (DePaulo & Morris, 2005). In the present article, we investigated the extent to which the system justification motive may contribute to the adoption...
Article
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A dual process model is proposed to explain how automatic evaluative associations to the partner (i.e., impulsive trust) and deliberative expectations of partner caring (i.e., reflective trust) interact to govern self-protection in romantic relationships. Experimental and correlational studies of dating and marital relationships supported the model...
Article
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People expect intimate partners to understand their personality, including feelings of self-worth. These general assumptions about transparency may influence situation-specific estimates of how others view the self (i.e., metaperceptions). In contexts that elicit evaluative concerns, lower self-esteem individuals, who think their chronic self-doubt...
Article
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The authors draw on sociometer theory (e.g., Leary, 2004) and self-verification theory (e.g., Swann, 1997) to propose an expanded model of the regulatory function of self-esteem. The model suggests that people not only possess an acceptance signaling system that indicates whether relational value is high or low but also possess an epistemic signali...
Article
Caryl E. Rusbult, a pioneer in the scientific study of close relationships and a much esteemed and beloved colleague and mentor, passed away on January 27, 2010, of cancer, at the age of 57. Rusbult made many important, highly cited contributions. Her work played a major role in shaping an emerging specialization-the operation of social-psychologic...
Article
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Low self-esteem individuals (LSEs) tend to react to relationship threats with self-protective and relationship-destructive behaviors that decrease their partners’ satisfaction with the relationship over time (Murray, Bellavia, Rose, & Griffin, 2003). In the current studies, we examined the effects of a theoretically driven intervention on LSEs’ rel...
Article
The paper examines potential origins of automatic (i.e., unconscious) attitudes toward one's marital partner. It tests the hypothesis that early experiences in conflict-of-interest situations predict one's later automatic inclination to approach (or avoid) the partner. A longitudinal study linked daily experiences in conflict-of-interest situations...
Article
Murray, Holmes, and Collins’ [Murray, Holmes, and Collins (2006) Optimizing assurance: The risk regulation system in relationships. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 641–666] interpersonal risk regulation model posits that people cope with threats to their romantic relationships by prioritizing self-protection goals over connectedness goals. The current...
Article
Building on the cognitive-affective personality system (CAPS) framework offered by Mischel and Shoda (1995), the authors emphasize the importance of considering abstract properties of situations to improve behavioral prediction. The CAPS model incorporates a person-by-situation interactionist perspective, holding that specific features of situation...
Article
It is proposed that people are motivated to feel hard to replace in romantic relationships because feeling irreplaceable fosters trust in a partner's continued responsiveness. By contrast, feeling replaceable motivates compensatory behavior aimed at strengthening the partner's commitment to the relationship. A correlational study of dating couples...
Article
A model of mutual responsiveness in adult romantic relationships is proposed. Behaving responsively in conflict-of-interest situations requires one partner to resist the temptation to be selfish and the other partner to resist the temptation to protect against exploitation. Managing risk and the attendant temptations of self-interest require the in...
Article
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A model of the commitment-insurance system is proposed to examine how low and high self-esteem people cope with the costs interdependence imposes on autonomous goal pursuits. In this system, autonomy costs automatically activate compensatory cognitive processes that attach greater value to the partner. Greater partner valuing compels greater respon...
Article
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People's expectations of acceptance often come to create the acceptance or rejection they anticipate. The authors tested the hypothesis that interpersonal warmth is the behavioral key to this acceptance prophecy: If people expect acceptance, they will behave warmly, which in turn will lead other people to accept them; if they expect rejection, they...
Article
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Four studies examine the hypothesis that goals adopted by high and low self-esteem people (HSEs and LSEs) to manage risk in romantic relationships may reflect global shifts in approach motivation and subsequently affect risk taking in nonsocial domains. In Studies 1 and 2, threats to participants' romantic relationships heightened HSEs' self-report...
Article
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A model of the trust-insurance system is proposed to examine how people with low and high self-esteem cope with the interdependence dilemma posed by feeling inferior to a romantic partner. Feeling inferior automatically activates "if-then" contingencies that link inferiority to the exchange script (i.e., partner qualities are evenly traded) and exc...
Article
Despite the potential benefits of self-disclosure, individuals with lower self-esteem (LSEs) tend to avoid self-revelations. The present study investigated the role of self-esteem in predicting detrimental responses to the disclosure of a personal failure. We employed a novel experimental design where all participants experienced a lab-induced stre...
Article
A levels of processing model of the commitment‐insurance system is described to explain how low and high self‐esteem people cope with the interdependence dilemma posed by ensuring that a partner's commitment is commensurate with their own. Two levels to this system are detailed: (1) the procedural rules that govern perception and behavior without c...
Article
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The authors draw upon social, personality, and health psychology to propose and test a self-and-social-bonds model of health. The model contends that lower self-esteem predicts health problems and that poor-quality social bonds explain this association. In Study 1, lower self-esteem prospectively predicted reports of health problems 2 months later,...
Article
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A model of risk regulation is proposed to explain how low and high self-esteem people balance the tension between self-protection and connectedness goals in romantic relationships. This model assumes that interpersonal risk automatically activates connectedness and self-protection goals. The activation of these competing goals then triggers an exec...
Article
The current study tested whether agreeableness, conscientiousness, and attachment styles would be associated with automatic accommodation in dating relationships. Accommodation refers to the tendency to respond to a romantic partner’s potentially destructive relationship act by inhibiting one’s own negative impulses and replacing them with a relati...
Article
People with low self-esteem (LSEs) tend to have unwarranted insecurities about their relationships (Murray, Holmes, & Griffin, 200018. Murray , S. L. , Holmes , J. G. and Griffin , D. W. 2000 . Self-esteem and the quest for felt security: How perceived regard regulates attachment processes . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 78 : 478 –...
Article
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The authors draw on sociometer theory to propose that self-esteem is attuned to traits that garner others' acceptance, and the traits that garner acceptance depend on one's social role. Attunement of self-esteem refers to the linkage, or connection, between self-esteem and specific traits, which may be observed most clearly in the association betwe...
Article
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The present study examined the sociometer’s role in guiding social behavior. The authors hypothesized that low self-esteem people (LSEs), but not high self-esteem people (HSEs), base their social decision-making on acceptance. Undergraduate participants were invited to join a social group and were led to believe that acceptance either was guarantee...
Article
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Although people with low self-esteem (LSEs) doubt their value to their romantic partners, they tend to resist positive feedback from their partners. This resistance undermines their relationships and has been difficult to overcome in past research. The authors investigated whether LSEs could be induced to take their partners' kind words to heart by...
Article
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A model of risk regulation is proposed to explain how people balance the goal of seeking closeness to a romantic partner against the opposing goal of minimizing the likelihood and pain of rejection. The central premise is that confidence in a partner's positive regard and caring allows people to risk seeking dependence and connectedness. The risk r...
Article
In a study investigating the relationship between conversational interrupting and marital satisfaction, 78 couples were videotaped while discussing a conflictual issue. Coders counted total interruptions and also categorized each interruption by its function: agreement, disagreement, clarification, or tangentialization. Agreement interruptions were...
Article
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The authors argue that felt insecurity in a partner's positive regard and caring stems from a specifically dyadic perception--the perception that a partner is out of one's league. A cross-sectional sample of dating couples revealed that people with low self-esteem feel inferior to their partner and that such feelings of relative inferiority undermi...
Article
In this article I argue for the benefits of an abstract functional analysis in theory construction, suggesting that an understanding of the nature of situations of interdependence will provide theoretical insights into basic processes in interpersonal relations. That is, mechanisms and basic processes such as social cognition are best understood by...
Article
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Four studies demonstrated that fears of rejection prompt individuals to exhibit a signal amplification bias, whereby they perceive that their overtures communicate more romantic interest to potential partners than is actually the case. The link between rejection anxieties and the bias was evident regardless of whether fears of rejection were assess...
Article
Three experiments examined how needs for acceptance might constrain low versus high self-esteem people's capacity to protect their relationships in the face of difficulties. The authors led participants to believe that their partner perceived a problem in their relationship. They then measured perceptions of the partner's acceptance, partner enhanc...
Article
The authors argue that people are happiest in their relationships when they believe they have found a kindred spirit, someone who understands them and shares their experiences. As reality may not always be that accommodating, however, intimates may find this sense of confidence by egocentrically assuming that their partners are mirrors of themselve...
Article
Intimate partners described a past transgression in which one of them had been a victim and the other a perpetrator and then evaluated each other and their relationship. Participants had been randomly assigned to the perpetrator or victim role. Perpetrators described their actions as more justifiable, perceived greater improvement since the transgr...
Article
In this paper I use interdependence theory as an analytic framework for depicting the logically interconnected network of expectations that determines social interaction. The framework focuses on expectations about a partner’s goals (B) relevant to particular interdependence situations (S), and suggests that expectations about these two elements de...
Article
Two field studies tested the hypothesis that people's willingness to help a charitable organization is greater when the act is presented as an economic transaction than when it is presented as an act of charity. In Study 1 participants donated more money to a charity when offered a product in exchange for their donation, even though the product its...
Article
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Foreword Part I. Introduction and Theory: 1. Interpersonal situations: the context of social behavior 2. Outcome interdependence 3. Interaction conditions and person factors 4. Exploring the geography of the outcome patterns Part II The Situations: Preface to the Entries for the Situations Single Component Patterns: 1. Independence: we go our separ...
Article
The attributional statements intimate partners communicate to one another were examined as a function of trust. In discussions by 35 married couples, 850 attributions and corresponding events were coded on dimensions of valence, globality, and locus. Results of regression and contingency analyses indicate that attributional statements expressed in...
Article
Existing research suggests that people with high, but not low, self-esteem use their dating partners' love and acceptance as a resource for self-affirmation when faced with personal shortcomings. The present research examines the role that perceived contingencies of acceptance play in mediating these effects. In Experiment 1, we activated either co...
Article
The authors argue that individuals with more negative models of self are involved in less satisfying relationships because they have difficulty believing that they are loved by good partners. Dating and married couples completed measures of self-models, perceptions of the partner’s love, perceptions of the partner, and relationship well-being. The...
Article
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Study 1 participants' self-integrity (C. M. Steele. 1988) was threatened by deliberative mind-set (S. E. Taylor & P. M. Gollwitzer, 1995) induced uncertainty. They masked the uncertainty with more extreme conviction about social issues. An integrity-repair exercise after the threat, however, eliminated uncertainty and the conviction response. In St...
Article
This article argues that satisfaction in marriage is associated with motivated and benevolent biases in perception. Married couples individually completed measures of relationship satisfaction and described themselves and their partners on a series of virtues and faults. They also nominated friends who described each spouse on the identical qualiti...
Article
This paper reviews developments in the field of close relationships from an interdependence theory perspective. It concludes that focusing on the relational, dyadic aspects of relationships has led to a much better understanding of social cognition and of interpersonal processes. In this vein, the nature and function of relational schemas seems a p...
Article
The authors proposed that personal feelings of self-esteem foster the level of confidence in a partner's regard critical for satisfying attachments. Dating and married couples described themselves, their partners, how they thought their partners saw them, and how they wanted their partners to see them on a variety of interpersonal qualities. The re...
Article
The authors argue for a causal role of alcohol in exacerbating relationship conflict. Participants, after nominating a conflict in their romantic relationships, were assigned to a sober, placebo, or intoxicated condition and were then asked to evaluate the conflict they had previously nominated. Intoxicated participants reported more negative emoti...
Article
The authors proposed that personal feelings of self-esteem foster the level of confidence in a partner's regard critical for satisfying attachments. Dating and married couples described themselves, their partners, how they thought their partners saw them, and how they wanted their partners to see them on a variety of interpersonal qualities. The re...
Article
It is proposed that the cognitive structures that help sustain relationships depend on individuals embellishing the significance of virtues and minimizing the significance of faults within hierarchical, integrated representations of their partners. As a means of measuring representation structure, dating individuals were asked to write narratives d...
Article
An experiment examined individuals’willingness to excuse a romantic partner of blame for a transgression when perceptions that a relationship is risky are salient. Participants evaluated an actual transgression on measures tapping three levels of appraisal: (a) initial impressions of the act (i.e., severity of the transgression), (b) considerations...
Article
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In 4 longitudinal studies, the authors explicated how storytelling about relationships biases subsequent impressions in the direction of the story told. In Study 1, storytelling about a relationship conflict vignette biased impressions of blame 2 weeks later, even with memory bias neutralized. Study 2 tracked 2 distinct and variable influences on b...
Article
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The authors argue that individuals regulate perceptions of their relationships in a self-protective way, finding virtue in their partners only when they feel confident that their partners also see virtues in them. In 4 experiments, the authors posed an acute threat to low and high self-esteem individuals' feelings of self-worth (e.g., guilt about a...
Article
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The transition from acquaintanceship (nonunit) to friendship (unit) was conceptualized in terms of a preunit relationship. The authors theorized that in transitional relationships, discrete interactions are imbued with surplus meaning. Using a mental simulation procedure in 3 studies, participants randomly assigned to focus their attention on an ex...
Article
It is proposed that satisfying, stable relationships reflect intimates' ability to see imperfect relationships in somewhat idealized ways-to make a leap of faith. Both members of dating and married couples completed a measure of relationship illusions, tapping idealized perceptions of the partners' attributes, exaggerated perceptions of control, an...