Sarah C. E. Stanton

Sarah C. E. Stanton
The University of Western Ontario | UWO · Department of Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

40
Publications
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Introduction
I utilize an experimental social psychological approach to understand the cognitive and affective aspects of romantic relationships and their effects on behavior, physiology, and health and well-being. I am particularly interested in how promoting positive relationship experiences benefits romantic partners immediately and over time. My expertise lies in a theoretically-driven, dyadic, multi-method approach to studying relationship dynamics.

Publications

Publications (40)
Article
Romantic relationships are a cornerstone of human nature. Today, these relationships can potentially be fulfilled by virtual agents. Although previous psychological research has examined how human needs can be met by anthropomorphized agents, it has neglected virtual romantic relationships. This paper introduces the concept of romantic anthropomorp...
Preprint
Romantic relationships are a cornerstone of human nature. Today, these relationships can potentially be fulfilled by virtual agents. Although previous psychological research has examined how human needs can be met by anthropomorphized agents, it has neglected virtual romantic relationships. This paper introduces the concept of romantic anthropomorp...
Article
Full-text available
Close relationships have the potential to fundamentally alter relationship partners’ self-concepts and, consequently, can impact individuals’ mental health. One type of relationship-induced self-concept change is self-expansion, which describes the cognitive reorganization of the self that can occur when individuals include aspects of their partner...
Preprint
Disconnection from one’s social network has detrimental links to physical health outcomes, and there has been increased interest in treating social disconnection as a public health issue. Two perspectives guide much of the research on social networks, social disconnection, and physical health. One perspective emphasizes the quality of social ties o...
Article
Disconnection from one’s social network has detrimental links to physical health outcomes, and there has been increased interest in treating social disconnection as a public health issue. Two perspectives guide much of the research on social networks, social disconnection, and physical health. One perspective emphasizes the quality of social ties o...
Preprint
We test the contribution of multiple types of romantic partners’ commitment asymmetry (discrepancies between partners’ commitment at a single time point) and asynchrony (discrepancies in the progression of commitment over time) to later relationship satisfaction and breakup. In three dyadic studies (N = 6,960 couples) over months (Study 1), days (S...
Article
The study of intimate relationships and health is a fast-growing discipline with numerous well-developed theories, many of which outline specific interpersonal behaviors and psychological pathways that may give rise to good or poor health. In this article, we argue that the study of relationships and health can move toward interrogating these mecha...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19 has resulted in a mental health crisis across the globe. Understanding factors that may have increased individuals' risk of poor mental health outcomes is imperative. Individual differences in attachment styles have been shown to predict poorer mental health outcomes and insecure individuals struggle to cope with stressful situations. Ther...
Article
General and domain-specific (e.g., relationship-specific) mindfulness frequently predict salutary relationship outcomes. The present preregistered study examined whether general and relationship mindfulness predicted longitudinal change in positive and negative relationship quality via greater perceived partner responsiveness (PPR). One hundred cou...
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General and domain-specific (e.g., relationship-specific) mindfulness frequently predict salutary relationship outcomes. The present preregistered study examined whether general and relationship mindfulness predicted longitudinal change in positive and negative relationship quality via greater perceived partner responsiveness (PPR). One hundred cou...
Preprint
The study of intimate relationships and health is a fast-growing discipline with numerous well-developed theories, many of which outline specific interpersonal behaviors and psychological pathways that may give rise to good or poor health. The central argument of this review paper is that the study of relationships and health can move toward interr...
Preprint
Self-expansion experiences include perceptions of potential (i.e., beliefs about how self-expanding a relationship could be in the future) and behaviors (i.e., engaging in actual self-expanding activities). In two preregistered dyadic daily experience studies, we examined whether self-expansion potential is an antecedent to behavioral self-expansio...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to engage flexibly with thoughts and behavior in line with the demands of a situation-termed psychological flexibility-has been linked to individual well-being. This registered report presents two studies that investigate the links between psychological flexibility, individual well-being, and relationship quality. Using structural equat...
Article
Self‐regulation refers to the process of controlling thoughts, feelings, and actions to manage short‐ and long‐term goals, and is marked by effortful and voluntary control. Individuals can differ in their ability to self‐regulate, which may be influenced by personality and situational variables. The purpose of this entry is to discuss the general f...
Article
Self‐regulation refers to the process of controlling thoughts, feelings, and actions to manage short‐ and long‐term goals, and is marked by effortful and voluntary control. Individuals can differ in their ability to self‐regulate, which may be influenced by personality and situational variables. The purpose of this entry is to discuss the general f...
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Full-text available
Attachment anxiety and avoidance are generally associated with detrimental relationship processes, including more negative and fewer positive relationship behaviours. However, recent theoretical and empirical evidence has shown that positive factors can buffer insecure attachment. We hypothesised that relationship mindfulness (RM)-open or receptive...
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
A growing body of literature suggests that specific markers of relationship quality are meaningfully linked to health outcomes. We tested whether relational self‐expansion potential might be one of these markers in cross‐sectional samples of individuals and romantic couples. Study 1 found that greater self‐expansion potential was linked to better p...
Article
Full-text available
People in romantic relationships often benefit from improved mental and physical health and well-being. Today, these relationships can be recreated using virtual agents. For instance, some people anthropomorphize and fall in love with a virtual partner in a romantic video game. Although previous psychological research has examined anthropomorphized...
Article
Although researchers have made great strides in identifying links between close relationship processes and physical health, we know less about the psychological and behavioral mechanisms underlying these links. As we move toward considering relationships as a public health issue, understanding mechanistic pathways in relationships–health links is c...
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Full-text available
Self-disclosure and perceived responsiveness are important building blocks of social relationships that have long-lasting consequences for health and well-being. However, the conditions under which self-disclosure and responsiveness are likely to benefit health, and how early in life these benefits arise, remain unclear. Among 141 youth (aged 10-17...
Article
Two theoretical perspectives guide much of the research on adult romantic relationships: attachment theory and interdependence theory. Each of these theoretical perspectives acknowledges the importance of trust, or perceptions of partners' dependability and faith in the future of the relationship. Whereas attachment theory conceptualizes trust as a...
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Full-text available
*This is a draft of the paper submitted to JSPR (i.e. prior to acceptance), and may include minor typos. * How accurately do romantic partners perceive each other’s sexual advances? Two preregistered studies investigated whether perceivers over- or underestimate the specific behaviors their partner uses to indicate sexual interest (directional bia...
Article
Attachment avoidance is characterized by discomfort with closeness and a reluctance to develop intimacy with romantic partners, which contribute to heightened general negativity and lower satisfaction and self-disclosure in and out of their relationships. Recent research, however, has begun to uncover circumstances in which romantic partners and po...
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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
Attachment avoidance is typically associated with negative behaviors in romantic relationships; however, recent research has begun to uncover circumstances (e.g., being in high-quality relationships) that promote pro-relationship behaviors for more avoidantly attached individuals. One possible explanation for why more avoidant individuals behave ne...
Article
Attachment avoidance is typically associated with negative behaviors in romantic relationships; however, recent research has begun to uncover circumstances (e.g., being in high-quality relationships) that promote pro relationship behaviors for more avoidantly attached individuals. One possible explanation for why more avoidant individuals behave ne...
Preprint
A topic that is currently being hotly debated in the literature is whether the qualities that individuals say they ideally desire in a romantic partner actually influence their mate selections. That is, do individuals tend to initiate relationships with others who more closely match their ideal preferences?While some studies have shown that ideal m...
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Full-text available
An important assumption in interpersonal attraction research asking participants about their ideal partner preferences is that these preferences play a role in actual mate choice and relationship formation. Existing research investigating the possible predictive validity of ideal partner preference, however, is limited by the fact that none of it h...
Article
A great deal of research on interpersonal attraction implicitly assumes that stated ideal partner preferences guide the mate selection, and therefore relationship formation, process. Nevertheless, recent research has yielded contradictory results. Whereas some research has failed to demonstrate that ideal partner preferences influence attraction to...
Article
We assessed the impact of thinking of a current romantic partner on acute blood glucose responses and positive affect over a short period of time. Participants in romantic relationships were randomly assigned to reflect on their partner, an opposite-sex friend, or their morning routine. Blood glucose levels were assessed prior to reflection, as wel...
Article
Full-text available
Attachment anxiety is characterized by rumination about romantic relationships, particularly when the attachment system is activated. Two studies investigated the hypothesis that more anxiously attached individuals would experience cognitive load when attachment concerns were activated (vs. not activated). Study 1 found that more anxious persons en...
Article
Full-text available
Two literatures have explored some of the effects intimate relationships can have on physical and mental health outcomes. Research investigating health through the lens of attachment theory has demonstrated that more anxiously attached individuals in particular consistently report poorer health. Separate research on perceived social support (e.g.,...
Article
This article reviews the burgeoning literature linking greater individual differences in attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance to poorer health. Extant research indicates that more anxiously and avoidantly attached individuals experience heightened psychological (e.g., distress) and physiological (e.g., HPA axis activation) responses to stres...
Article
Although self-regulatory depletion has a broad range of adverse consequences, recent research has established that it can yield prosocial outcomes under certain circumstances. The present experiment examined the interaction between depletion and offense severity on forgiveness of romantic offenses. Consistent with prior research, results revealed t...

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Projects (2)
Project
The present study seeks to investigate the differences in direct and indirect information- seeking strategies employed by dating partners of various degrees of attachment avoidance and anxiety. Data will be collected in three phases from heterosexual dyads in committed romantic relationships. In the first phase, both partners will be independently provided links to a survey at least one week prior to the laboratory portion of the study. The survey will include demographic questions as well questions regarding perceptions of the partner and relationship (i.e., relationship satisfaction, social support from partner). In the second phase, couples will be asked to come to the laboratory and take part in a video recorded conversation in which one partner will be asked to solicit information from the other partner related to a relationship-relevant topic of their choosing. Following the conversation partners will be asked to individually complete some questionnaires about their perceptions of the interaction. In the third phase, the information-seeking strategies employed during these interactions will be coded as direct or indirect. The specific objectives are listed below. Objective 1: Information-seeking strategies. The first objective of the present study is to assess and examine the associations between participant attachment orientation and employed information-seeking strategies. Objective 2: Information-seeking efficiency. The second objective of the present study is to investigate the relative success or failure of the employment of indirect versus direct information-seeking strategies in acquiring desired information and/or achieving satisfaction with the outcome of the information-seeking interaction.