Rhonda Nicole Balzarini

Rhonda Nicole Balzarini
Texas State University | TxSt · Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

60
Publications
44,586
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528
Citations
Introduction
Dr. Rhonda Balzarini is an Assistant Professor at Texas State University and an Affiliate Faculty member with the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University. Dr. Balzarini is a social psychologist studying the interpersonal processes that enhance and detract from the quality of romantic and sexual relationships. Her recent research focuses on how diverse couples can have satisfying and passionate relationships and successfully navigate challenges and distressing situations.
Education
June 2018 - August 2020
York University
Field of study
  • Psychology
August 2014 - August 2018
The University of Western Ontario
Field of study
  • Social Psychology
June 2012 - June 2013
Stony Brook University
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (60)
Article
Full-text available
Research on polyamorous relationships has increased substantially over the past decade. This work has documented how polyamory is practiced and why individuals might pursue such arrangements. However, there is a lack of a systematic investigation of who is in polyamorous relationships and how they might differ from individuals in monogamous relatio...
Article
Full-text available
Polyamory is the practice of having multiple emotionally close relationships that may or may not be sexual. Research concerning polyamory has just begun to determine how relationships among partners in polyamorous arrangements may vary. Most of the research assessing perceptions of polyamorous partners has focused on primary–secondary configuration...
Preprint
Full-text available
External stressors can erode relationship quality, though little is known about what can mitigate these effects. We examined whether COVID-related stressors were associated with lower relationship quality, and whether perceived partner responsiveness—the extent to which people believe their partner understands, validates, and cares for them—buffers...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social distancing measures have caused widespread social and economic disruptions, resulting in spikes in unemployment and financial instability, along with drastic changes to people's ability to feel socially connected. Many of the changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are risk factors for depressive...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the importance of sex for the maintenance of satisfying romantic relationships, our understanding of a person's sexual ideals-the traits and attributes a person desires in a sexual partner or experience-and what might buffer against lower satisfaction associated with unmet sexual ideals is limited. Across four studies including cross-sectio...
Preprint
Reports worldwide have been showing increases in the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and condomless sex in recent years. Research has identified several individual and situational variables that can determine the decision to use condoms or forgo their use. We argue that such a decision can also be shaped by motives related to pleasu...
Article
Full-text available
This in-depth critical review investigates the impact of COVID-19 on personal relationships from the start of the pandemic in early 2020 to September 2021. Research examining six themes are identified and described in detail: the impact of COVID-19 on (1) family and intimate relationships; (2) LGBTQ+ relationships; (3) how COVID-19 is linked to tec...
Article
Decades of research from across the globe highlight unequal and unfair division of household labor as a key factor that leads to relationship distress and demise. But does it have to? Testing a priori predictions across three samples of individuals cohabiting with a romantic partner during the COVID-19 pandemic ( N = 2,193, including 476 couples),...
Article
Amidst a global pandemic, survival needs become salient and the ability of individuals to regulate feelings and actions might be particularly relevant to protecting themselves from harm. Drawing from Regulatory Focus Theory individuals who are more focused on prevention are also more likely to enact health-protective behaviours, including sexual he...
Article
Full-text available
External stressors can erode relationship quality, though little is known about what can mitigate these effects. We examined whether COVID-related stressors were associated with lower relationship quality, and whether perceived partner responsiveness—the extent to which people believe their partner understands, validates, and cares for them—buffers...
Article
Objective: Self-regulation can help individuals cope during stressful events, but little is known about why and when this might occur. We examined if being more focused on prevention was linked to negative affective experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also examined possible underlying mechanisms for this association, and whether social su...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched many aspects of people’s lives around the world, including their romantic relationships. While media outlets have reported that the pandemic is difficult for couples, empirical evidence is needed to test these claims and understand why this may be. In two highly powered studies ( N = 3271) using repeated measure an...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual desire is associated with romantic relationship satisfaction and maintenance, yet desire for a partner often declines over time. Self-expansion (new experiences that facilitate growth) with a partner boosts desire, but how this occurs is not well-understood. Across three studies—a 21-day daily experience study, a one-month weekly experience...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched many aspects of people’s lives around the world, including their romantic relationships. While media outlets have reported that the pandemic is difficult for couples, empirical evidence is needed to test these claims and understand why this may be. In two highly powered studies (N = 3,271) using repeated measure an...
Preprint
Individual differences in regulatory focus have been associated with distinct perceptions and behavioral patterns across several domains, including sexual behavior and health. People who are more focused on prevention strive to avoid negative outcomes and enact more risk protective behaviors. In contrast, people who are more focused on promotion st...
Article
Full-text available
People focused on prevention (vs. promotion) are motivated by safety and are less inclined to take risks. We tested if having a prevention (vs. promotion) focus before the COVID‐19 pandemic outbreak predicted threat perceptions and health outcomes throughout the pandemic. Participants (N = 161) took part in a longitudinal study. Measures were asses...
Preprint
Interest in consensually non-monogamous relationships (CNM) has been increasing in the general population in recent years. However, given the cultural dominance of monogamy and the normative expectations often imposed through socialization (i.e., mononormativity), people in CNM relationships may experience negativity, which can become internalized...
Article
Full-text available
In this preregistered study, we examined educational disparities in the trajectory of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether such educational disparities would be mediated by financial stress associated with the pandemic. Data were drawn from the Love in the Time of COVID project ( N = 2,204; four waves collected between March and J...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objective: Past research suggests that having a stronger ability to regulate feelings and behaviors can help individuals cope during stressful events, but little is known about why and when this might be the case. We examined if being more focused on prevention (i.e., health security motives) impacted personal well-being during the COVID-19 pandemi...
Article
Full-text available
It is commonly assumed that exposure to pornography harms relationships because pornography changes the way that individuals think, feel, and behave in problematic ways. In the current research, we contribute to a small but growing body of work that challenges this assumption by carefully scrutinizing the relational context of pornography use. In c...
Preprint
Full-text available
Humans maintain romantic relationships for sexual gratification, childcare assistance, intimate friendship, and a host of other interpersonal benefits. In monogamous relationships (i.e., exclusive courtship between two people) individuals agree that certain benefits of the relationship (i.e., sexual contact, material resources, emotional support) m...
Preprint
Socioeconomic disparities in mental health have been reported during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, few studies have examined the mechanisms through which such disparities in mental health occurred. This pre-registered study aimed to examine socioeconomic disparities, as indexed by education levels, in the trajectory of mental health at the early...
Article
Full-text available
Emotional reactions to a partner’s extradyadic romantic interests are assumed to be negative and characterized by jealousy, an emotional state that arises over a perceived threat to one’s relationship. Yet, reactions may also be positive, and involve compersion, or taking joy in one’s partner’s pleasure in other sexual and relational encounters. Al...
Article
Full-text available
Drawing on an internalized homonegativity and minority stress framework, the present study sought to address whether people engaged in consensual non-monogamy (CNM) internalize stigma toward their relationship style, and if internalized CNM negativity is associated with poorer relationship quality and functioning. We recruited a community sample of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Amidst a global pandemic, people’ survival needs become salient and the ability for people to regulate feeling and actions might be particularly relevant to protecting oneself from harm. Regulatory Focus Theory (Higgins, 1998) proposes that people pursue their goals by having a focus on prevention (i.e., motivated by security) or promotion (i.e., m...
Preprint
It is commonly assumed that pornography use harms relationships. In the current research, we contribute to a small but growing body of work that challenges this assumption by examining an alternative explanatory mechanism for the associations between pornography use and relationship dysfunction. In contrast to dominant exposure-based explanations i...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Past research has shown that regulatory focus shapes people’s health and well-being, with those who are focused on prevention (vs. promotion) being more motivated by safety and being less inclined to take risks. Purpose: In the current study, we tested if having a prevention (vs. promotion) focus before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak pr...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose of Review The purpose of this review is to highlight the major advancements in our understanding of consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships—or intimate relationships between three or more people who are non-exclusive sexually and/or emotionally. We aim to review key insights from research on the benefits (i.e., diversification of ne...
Preprint
Full-text available
Emotional reactions to a partner's extradyadic romantic interests are assumed to be negative and characterized by jealousy, an emotional state that arises over a perceived threat to one's relationship. Yet, reactions may also be positive, and involve compersion, or taking joy in one's partner's pleasure in other sexual and relational encounters. Al...
Preprint
Full-text available
Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to highlight the major advancements in our understanding of consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships-or intimate relationships between three or more people who are non-exclusive sexually and/or emotionally. We aim to review key insights from research on the benefits (i.e., diversification of n...
Preprint
Relational boredom is an important but understudied area of the relationship maintenance literature. In three dyadic studies, we investigated the interplay of accuracy and bias in partners’ perceptions of each other’s relational boredom, and how accurate and biased boredom perceptions were associated with relationship quality. Results revealed that...
Article
Full-text available
Romantic partners provide both erotic and nurturing experiences, though these may emerge more strongly in different phases of a relationship. Unlike individuals in monogamous relationships, those in polyamorous relationships can pursue multiple romantic relationships simultaneously, potentially allowing them to experience higher levels of eroticism...
Article
Full-text available
We examine the relations between accepting and rejecting a partner’s sexual advances with sexual and relationship satisfaction and assess how long these effects endure. Couples ( N = 115) completed a 21-day daily diary indicating whether a partner made a sexual advance each day, and if so, whether the advance was accepted or rejected. Having one’s...
Article
Full-text available
A great deal of pornography research is founded on dubious measurement practices. Measurement of pornography use has been highly variable across studies and existing measurement approaches have not been developed using standard measurement practices nor have they addressed construct validation or reliability. This state of affairs is problematic fo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Most couples view sexual satisfaction as crucial for the maintenance of romantic relationships, yet our understanding of a person’s sexual ideals (i.e., the traits and attributes a person desires in a sexual partner and the characteristics of a sexual experience a person finds to be ideal) and what might buffer against lower satisfaction associated...
Article
Full-text available
Research has shown that ideal romantic standards predict future partner characteristics and influence existing relationships, but how standards develop and change among single individuals has yet to be explored. Guided by the Ideal Standards Model (ISM), the present study sought to determine whether repeated experiences of romantic rejection and ac...
Preprint
Full-text available
The current research examines the relations between accepting and rejecting a partner’s sexual advances with sexual and relationship satisfaction, both on the day the advance occurred and on subsequent days. 115 couples completed a 21-day daily diary indicating the sexual advance, acceptance, and rejection behaviours by themselves and their partner...
Preprint
Full-text available
Romantic partners provide both erotic and nurturing experiences, though these may emerge more strongly in different phases of a relationship. Unlike individuals in monogamous relationships, those in polyamorous relationships can pursue multiple romantic relationships simultaneously, potentially allowing them to experience higher levels of eroticism...
Preprint
Full-text available
Polyamory is the practice of having multiple emotionally-close relationships that may or may not be sexual. Research concerning polyamory has just begun to determine how relationships among partners in polyamorous arrangements may vary. Most of the research assessing perceptions of polyamorous partners has focused on primary-secondary configuration...
Article
Full-text available
Consensual nonmonogamy (CNM) is an overarching term for relationship orientations that differ based on the degree to which consensual sexual and emotional needs are fulfilled outside of a dyad. Despite the diversity of CNM relationship orientations and growing research examining CNM, it is unclear whether the sexual attitudes, inclination to approa...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research has shown that ideal romantic standards predict future partner characteristics and influence existing relationships, but how standards develop and change among single individuals has yet to be explored. Using the Ideal Standards Model, the present study sought to determine whether repeated experiences of romantic rejection and acceptance o...
Preprint
Full-text available
The literature on relationship secrecy suggests that secrecy may have detrimental and beneficial effects on romantic relationships, such as lower relationship satisfaction but higher sexual attraction. Like secrecy, relationship acceptance appears to have inconsistent effects as well; for instance, while a lack of relationship acceptance can be a b...
Preprint
Full-text available
Consensual non-monogamy (CNM) is an overarching term for relationship orientations that differ based on the degree to which consensual sexual and emotional needs are fulfilled outside of a dyad. Despite the diversity of CNM relationship orientations and growing research examining CNM, it is unclear whether the sexual attitudes, inclination to appro...
Preprint
Full-text available
Consensual non-monogamy (CNM) is an overarching term for relationship orientations that differ based on the degree to which consensual sexual and emotional needs are fulfilled outside of a dyad. Despite the diversity of CNM relationship orientations and growing research examining CNM, it is unclear whether the sexual attitudes, inclination to appro...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research suggests that both monogamous and consensually non-monogamous (CNM) participants rate monogamous targets more positively. However, this pattern of stigma toward CNM relationships and the "halo effect" surrounding monogamy is at odds with the view that people typically favor members from their own groups over members of other group...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract: Previous research suggests that both monogamous and consensually non-monogamous (CNM) participants rate monogamous targets more positively. However, this pattern of stigma towards CNM relationships and the “halo effect” surrounding monogamy is at odds with the view that people typically favor members from their own groups over members of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Previous research suggests that both monogamous and consensually non-monogamous (CNM) participants rate monogamous targets more positively. However, this pattern of stigma towards CNM relationships and the “halo effect” surrounding monogamy is at odds with the view that people typically favor members from their own groups over members of other grou...
Article
Full-text available
Couples who use pornography together (shared pornography use) and couples in which both members use pornography alone (concordant solitary pornography use) may have more sexual interests, preferences, and values in common than couples in which one couple member uses pornography and the other does not (discordant pornography use). From this perspect...
Article
Full-text available
In consensually non-monogamous relationships there is an open agreement that one, both, or all individuals involved in a romantic relationship may also have other sexual and/or romantic partners. Research concerning consensual non-monogamy has grown recently but has just begun to determine how relationships amongst partners in consensually non-mono...
Article
Full-text available
Across three studies, Murray, Rose, Bellavia, Holmes, and Kusche (2002) found that low self-esteem individuals responded in a negative manner compared to those high in self-esteem in the face of relationship threat, perceiving their partners and relationships less positively. This was the first empirical support for the hypothesized dynamics of a d...
Preprint
Across three studies, Murray et al. (2002) found that low self-esteem individuals responded in a negative manner compared to those high in self-esteem in the face of relationship threat, perceiving their partners and relationships less positively. This was the first empirical support for the hypothesized dynamics of a dependency regulation perspect...
Article
Kenrick, Gutierres, and Goldberg (1989; Study 2) demonstrated that men, but not women, in committed relationships exposed to erotic images of opposite-sex others reported lower ratings for their partner's sexual attractiveness (d = 0.91) and less love for their partner (d = 0.69) than men exposed to images of abstract art. This research has implica...
Chapter
Full-text available
For 50 years, relationship researchers have primarily focused on two varieties of relationships; one-night stands and serious romantic relationships. Both of these are treated as (1) distinct relationships and (2) a comprehensive list of the relationships people of any sexual orientation engage in. However, over the last 10 years this apparent simp...
Article
Full-text available
Ninety-six male fraternity members (Study 1), 112 female voters (Study 2), and 219 undergraduates (Study 3) read scenarios in which a group representative forgave, retaliated, or left a romantic partner after the partner's sexual infidelity was publically revealed. Observers rated a victim who forgave his or her partner to be as mature as a victim...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In recent years, relationship science has produced innovative and provocative research focusing on consensual non-monogamy (CNM)— that is, an explicit agreement between two partners that one or both of them can have other sexual and/or romantic relationships (Conley, Moors, Matsick, & Ziegler, 2013; Moors, Edelstein, & Conley, 2012). Research about...
Article
Full-text available
In two field experiments, we manipulated the extent to which sorority members viewed themselves as prototypical group members before they learned social norm information. In Study 1 (n = 109), participants who learned that they closely matched the ideal group member's personality intended to drink less alcohol after reading about related group norm...
Article
Full-text available
Psychological research documents the extent to which physical appearance comparisons are associated with negative emotional experiences, but researchers typically study physical appearance comparisons isolated from other comparison experiences. As part of a signal-contingent experience sampling design, 87 female undergraduate students recorded whet...

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Projects (2)
Archived project
This research examines the relations between accepting and rejecting a partner’s sexual advances with sexual and relationship satisfaction, both on the day the advance occurred and on subsequent days.