Article

Shared Activities and Marital Satisfaction: Causal Direction and Self-Expansion versus Boredom

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Abstract

Fifty-three married couples were randomly assigned to engage in activities for 1.5 hours each week for 10 weeks that were self-defined as (a) exciting or (b) pleasant, or couples were in a (c) no-special-activity control group. Pretest and post-test data were obtained on a standard marital satisfaction measure (adjusted for scores on a social desirability index). A planned linear contrast comparing the two activities groups to the control group was not significant and had a small effect size; thus the theory that any kind of activity enhances marital satisfaction was not supported as an explanation for the well-established association of time together and satisfaction. However, the other planned orthogonal contrast found significantly higher satisfaction for the exciting than the pleasant group, a difference that had a moderate effect size. This finding is consistent with views emphasizing habituation as an obstacle to relationship maintenance - for example, Aron & Aron's (1986) prediction from their self-expansion model that sharing stimulating activities will enhance marital satisfaction.

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... New and exciting couple activities are important to intimate relationships because they help promote increased relationship satisfaction (e.g., Aron & Aron, 1986;1997;Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000;Girme, Overall, & Faingataa, 2014;Graham, 2008;Harasymchuk & Fehr, 2010;Mattingly & Lewandowski, 2013;Muise, Harasymchuk, Day, Bacev-Giles, Gere, & Impett, 2019;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993). However, people's quest for seeking novelty within their relationship may not always be a positive experience because of perceived threats to their relationship. ...
... By nature, the self-expansion process is positive and rewarding for intimate relationships. Research has found that people who experience greater levels of relational self-expansion tend to reap rewards such as greater relationship quality (e.g., Aron et al., 2000;Carson, Carson, Gil, & Baucom, 2004;Coulter & Malouff, 2013;Muise et al., 2019;Reissman et al., 1993), and greater individual well-being Mattingly & Lewandowski, 2013). For instance, through two 21-day daily diary studies of couples, Muise and colleagues (2019) assessed relational self-expansion through a daily selfreport measure and found that people reported greater relationship satisfaction as well as increased sexual desire on days when their evaluations of relational self-expansion were greater than usual. ...
... Putting aside the ongoing debate about the essential features of exciting couple activities, there is mounting evidence that exciting couple activities have many positive benefits for intimate relationships (Aron et al., 2000;Girme et al., 2014;Harasymchuk et al., 2019;Kilbourne, Howell, & England, 1990;Muise et al., 2019;Reissman et al., 1993;Rollock, 2011). As opportunities for relational selfexpansion may decrease over time (Aron & Aron, 1986;1997;, exciting couple activities bode well for relationship maintenance by providing intimate couples with a means to occasionally break away from routine behaviours which may lead to relational boredom (e.g., Harasymchuk & Fehr, 2010;2012; and instead engage in new activities in order to "spice up" the relationship. ...
Thesis
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Incorporating growth (i.e., broadening one’s perspective of the self, partner, and world) is an important feature for the maintenance of satisfying and long-lasting intimate relationships. However, as relationships progress and people increasingly gain familiarity with their intimate partner, the opportunities for growth decline. According to the self-expansion model, one way that people can add growth to their relationship is by engaging in exciting (i.e., novel and arousing) couple activities. Although exciting couple activities have been associated with many relational benefits, it is unclear whether certain threat-related conditions might be related to poorer relational self-expansion and relational self-expansion outcomes, such as engagement in exciting couple activities. Through a 21-day daily diary study of community couples (N = 122), the present study investigated the effects of relationship threats on the occurrence of exciting couple activities and ratings of relational self-expansion. It was hypothesized that insecure attachment styles (i.e., trait-based) and daily relationship threats (i.e., state-based) would negatively predict people’s overall exciting activity experiences and ratings of relational self-expansion. Data analyses were guided by the Actor-Partner Independence Model (APIM). Contrary to my hypotheses, there was inconsistent support for the association between attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety and relational self-expansion. Consistent with my hypotheses, people (and their partners) reported lower relational self-expansion, and also were significantly less likely to engage in exciting couple activities on days when relationship threats (e.g., rejection, disappointment, feeling misunderstood) were greater than usual. Furthermore, on days when people engaged in exciting couple activities and felt greater relationship threats, they reported a less successful exciting couple activity experience. Although there was evidence that relationship threats negatively predicted people’s daily activity experiences on the same day, relationship threats were not related to the occurrence of exciting couple activities on the following day. In conclusion, this study offers evidence suggesting that state-based threat concerns might be one obstacle that couples face in promoting growth within intimate relationships.
... When spending time with a relationship partner, what kinds of activities are most beneficial? A series of diverse studies, focusing on the link between shared activities and satisfaction, suggest that couples can increase their love and relationship satisfaction by participating together in "self-expanding activities"-activities that have been conceptualized as novel, challenging, interesting, fun, and arousing in nature (Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000;Coulter & Malouff, 2013;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993). In four studies, we seek to uncover whether arousal is a necessary ingredient in influencing relationship quality and individual well-being. ...
... Previous research, however, has failed to examine the potential influence of arousal on established relationships. It is possible that arousal may be the key mechanism responsible for the link between self-expanding activities and perceived increases in relationship quality (Aron et al., 2000;Reissman et al., 1993). ...
... There are at least two reasons that shared activities (Aron et al., 2000;Reissman et al., 1993) or individual experiences (Mattingly & Lewandowski, 2013) may have led to enhanced relationship quality in long-term relationships. One possibility is the arousalattraction effect. ...
Article
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Participation in shared self-expanding activities benefits both relationships and the self. However, most studies use tasks that combine self-expansion and arousal within one activity, making it difficult to know what drives the benefits. We tested the distinct effects of self-expansion and arousal in four studies. In Studies 1 and 2, 35 married couples and 106 friend pairs completed experiments manipulating self-expansion and arousal. Self-expansion (and not arousal) predicted relationship and individual outcomes. In Studies 3 and 4, 200 married individuals and 202 individuals thinking of a close friend reported perceptions of self-expansion and arousal during activities. Simultaneous regressions showed self-expansion, controlling (or not controlling) for arousal, predicted relationship, and individual outcomes. Results suggest that self-expansion is central for deriving benefits of shared activities, while arousal does not seem to be necessary.
... In this study, participants could design any type of date, without any instructions about its qualities (e.g., about it being exciting). 1 This design differs from past studies that have provided guidelines about the types of exciting activities that couples engaged in outside of the lab (e.g., Coulter & Malouff, 2013;Reissman et al., 1993). Additionally, rather than an "exciting: yes or no" format that has been used in more naturalistic assessments (e.g., Harasymchuk et al., 2020), participants rated the extent of exciting elements in the date. ...
... To date, the self-expansion model has not been examined in the context of how shared activities are planned and initiated. Scholars suggest that it is best to engage in these activities as a preventative measure, rather than waiting until relationship decline sets in (e.g., boredom) to react and initiate these types of activities (i.e., Aron & Aron, 1996;Reissman et al., 1993). Indeed, there is supporting evidence that although people know what they should do when they are bored in their relationships (i.e., engage in exciting activities with their partner), they are not necessarily more likely to do so (Harasymchuk et al., 2017). ...
... Indeed, it was only when the data sets were combined and there was greater power to detect the effects that the association between approach goals and the excitement of the date (as rated by independent raters) reached statistical significance (see Footnote 5). The focus of past research and theorizing has been on whether the people in the relationship consider shared activities to be exciting, regardless of how the activities are objectively rated (Reissman et al., 1993). For instance, one couple's exciting activity, such as attending a play, might be another couple's version of a pleasant or even boring activity. ...
Article
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Spending time with a romantic partner by going on dates is important for promoting closeness in established relationships; however, not all date nights are created equally, and some people might be more adept at planning dates that promote closeness. Drawing from the self-expansion model and relationship goals literature, we predicted that people higher (vs. lower) in approach relationship goals would be more likely to plan dates that are more exciting and, in turn, experience more self-expansion from the date and increased closeness with the partner. In Study 1, people in intimate relationships planned a date to initiate with their partners and forecasted the expected level of self-expansion and closeness from engaging in the date. In Study 2, a similar design was employed, but we also followed up with participants 1 week later to ask about the experience of engaging in their planned dates (e.g., self-expansion, closeness from the date). Taken together, the results suggest that people with higher (vs. lower) approach relationship goals derive more closeness from their dates, in part, because of their greater aptitude for planning dates that are more exciting and promote self-expansion.
... Fortunately, research has shown that engaging in shared activities that are novel and exciting can revitalize feelings of self-expansion in the context of a long-term relationship (Aron & Aron, 1986, 1996, and this can have important implications for relationship satisfaction. Indeed, experimental evidence from in-lab studies (Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000;Graham & Harf, 2015) and "homework style" studies conducted outside the laboratory (Coulter & Malouff, 2013;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993) support the notion that self-expanding (e.g., novel, exciting, interesting, and challenging) activities increase relationship quality. For example, couples randomly assigned to a 4-week online intervention that involved 1.5 h of shared exciting activities (that participants themselves gener-ated) had greater pre-to postmeasurement increases in relationship quality than couples in a wait-list control group (Coulter & Malouff, 2013). ...
... In addition, we also tested the generalizability of our effects across gender and relationship length in an exploratory manner-as past research has not found consistent differences for men and women or for couples of longer or shorter relationship duration. In one study, women reported higher self-expansion in their relationships compared with men (Lewandowski & Acker-man, 2006), but, when tested, significant differences between self-expansion and relationship outcomes have not been found (e.g., Aron et al., 2000;Reissman et al., 1993). In addition, relationship duration has not been significantly linked with selfexpansion (Lewandowski & Ackerman, 2006), but in one study, couples in longer-term relationships felt closer during a selfexpanding activity than couples in shorter relationships (Slatcher, 2010). ...
... Previous research, however, has been mixed in terms of whether shared activities have to be self-expanding to boost relationship satisfaction. In in-lab experiment and "homework" style studies, selfexpanding activities have boosted relationship satisfaction above and beyond pleasant or mundane activities that partners engage in together (Aron et al., 2000;Reissman et al., 1993). However, in other studies about couples' shared activities in their daily lives, positive activities were associated with greater relationship satisfaction and closeness regardless of how self-expanding the activities were rated by outside coders (Girme et al., 2013). ...
Article
In the early stages of romantic relationships, sexual desire is often intense, but over time, as partners get to know each other, desire tends to decline. Low sexual desire has negative implications for relationship satisfaction and maintenance. Self-expansion theory suggests that engaging in novel activities with a long-term romantic partner can reignite feelings of passion from the early stages of a relationship. Across 3 studies using dyadic, daily experience, longitudinal, and experimental methods, we find evidence for our central prediction that engaging in self-expanding activities with a partner is associated with higher sexual desire. In turn, we found that higher desire fueled by self-expansion is associated with greater relationship satisfaction. Self-expansion, through sexual desire, is also associated with an increased likelihood that couples will engage in sex, and when they do engage in sex, they feel more satisfied with their sexual experiences. We also demonstrate that the benefits of self-expansion for relationship satisfaction are sustained over time, and that the effects cannot be attributed solely to increases in positive affect, time spent interacting with the partner or closeness during the activity. Implications for self-expansion theory and sexual desire maintenance in relationships are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
... But, after a while, the rate of fun and rewards dissipates, leading romantic partners to experience relational boredom (e.g., Aron & Aron, 1986, 1996. Previous research seems to have found a solution to this: trying novel and exciting activities together as a couple (e.g., Aron et al., 2000;Graham, 2008;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993). However, the limits of novel couple activities as a relational maintenance strategy have yet to be examined. ...
... Relational boredom is a common part of the natural trajectory of a romantic relationship (e.g., Aron & Aron, 1986, 1996 which can lead to a host of negative outcomes including decreased relationship satisfaction (Harasymchuk & Fehr, 2012;Tsapelas, Aron, & Orbuch, 2009). Fortunately, researchers have found an effective strategy to negate relational boredom: novel couple activities (e.g., Aron et al., 2000;Graham, 2008;Reissman et al., 1993). Reissman et al. (1993) were the first to establish novelty as a key factor in acquiring a relational benefit from couple activities. ...
... Fortunately, researchers have found an effective strategy to negate relational boredom: novel couple activities (e.g., Aron et al., 2000;Graham, 2008;Reissman et al., 1993). Reissman et al. (1993) were the first to establish novelty as a key factor in acquiring a relational benefit from couple activities. They compared couple activities that were novel with couple activities that were pleasant but mundane and found that novel couple activities significantly increased relationship satisfaction, while pleasant but mundane couple activities actually decreased relationship satisfaction. ...
Article
Novel and exciting couple activities have been found to increase satisfaction in couples (e.g., Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000), but only if both members enjoy the exciting activity (Girme, Overall, & Faingataa, 2014). We hypothesized that attachment anxiety might thwart the enjoyment and effectiveness of novel couple activities because of perceived threats to the security of the relationship. Undergraduate students (N = 154) who were in a romantic relationship completed online questionnaires. Consistent with our hypothesis, higher attachment anxiety was associated with decreased couple enjoyment (as perceived by the participant). However, contrary to our hypotheses, higher attachment anxiety was not associated with greater willingness to engage in an unappealing partner-initiated novel couple activity, or with decreased perceived benefits to the relationship. Furthermore, consistent with our guiding hypothesis, in exploratory analyses, we found that people who scored higher on attachment anxiety were more likely to be motivated to engage in the unappealing partner-initiated novel couple activity because of threat-related concerns.
... Although opportunities for self-expansion generally decline over time in a relationship, it is possible for couples to sustain self-expansion by engaging in shared, exciting activities (see Aron et al., 2013 for a review). Exciting activities in longterm relationships have been associated with benefits for the relationship, including higher relationship satisfaction and sexual desire (e.g., Aron et al., 2000;Muise et al., 2019;Reissman et al., 1993). More specifically, couple activities that are novel, arousing, and exciting have been found to increase relationship satisfaction (Aron et al., 2000;Carson et al., 2007;Coulter & Malouff, 2013;Reissman et al., 1993). ...
... Exciting activities in longterm relationships have been associated with benefits for the relationship, including higher relationship satisfaction and sexual desire (e.g., Aron et al., 2000;Muise et al., 2019;Reissman et al., 1993). More specifically, couple activities that are novel, arousing, and exciting have been found to increase relationship satisfaction (Aron et al., 2000;Carson et al., 2007;Coulter & Malouff, 2013;Reissman et al., 1993). For instance, in a series of studies, participants who engaged in an obstacle course task together that was novel and arousing (i.e., partners were velcroed together and creatively moved a foam cylinder through an obstacle course) had higher levels of subsequent relationship satisfaction than those in a control group (who played a mundane activity involving a ball; Aron et al., 2000). ...
... For instance, in a series of studies, participants who engaged in an obstacle course task together that was novel and arousing (i.e., partners were velcroed together and creatively moved a foam cylinder through an obstacle course) had higher levels of subsequent relationship satisfaction than those in a control group (who played a mundane activity involving a ball; Aron et al., 2000). In another study, when couples engaged in exciting activities together each week over a 10-week period, they reported feeling more satisfied with their relationship than couples in a no-activity control group or even couples who engaged in pleasant activities together (Reissman et al., 1993). In addition, couples who participated in an online excitement intervention for their relationship (i.e., couple members jointly created a list of 10 shared activities that had qualities such as novelty, excitement, interest, and challenge) for 90 min a week (over 4 weeks) displayed increased positive affect, excitement, and relationship satisfaction 4 weeks later compared to those in a control group (Coulter & Malouff, 2013). ...
Article
Self-expansion in intimate relationships (i.e., broadening one’s perspective through engaging in novel, exciting activities with a partner) has been associated with relationship benefits. The goal of this study was to propose a motivational model of self-expansion to understand what prompts people to engage in self-expanding activities in their relationship on a daily basis. We hypothesized that when people report stronger daily approach relationship goals (i.e., goals focused on pursuing growth, intimacy, and rewards), they would report a greater likelihood of engaging in novel, exciting activities that enhance self-expansion and ultimately promote greater satisfaction in romantic relationships. To test our model, we recruited 122 couples for a 3-week daily diary study. In support of our hypotheses, on days when people (or their partners) reported higher than their usual approach relationship goals, they reported higher relational self-expansion, which was due, in part, to a greater likelihood of engaging in novel, exciting activities with the partner. In turn, higher relational self-expansion was associated with higher daily relationship satisfaction. Our findings have implications for understanding what promotes relationship growth on a day-to-day basis and the outcomes of daily approach-oriented relationship goals.
... But, after a while, the rate of fun and rewards dissipates, leading romantic partners to experience relational boredom (e.g., Aron & Aron, 1986, 1996. Previous research seems to have found a solution to this: trying novel and exciting activities together as a couple (e.g., Aron et al., 2000;Graham, 2008;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993). However, the limits of novel couple activities as a relational maintenance strategy have yet to be examined. ...
... Relational boredom is a common part of the natural trajectory of a romantic relationship (e.g., Aron & Aron, 1986, 1996 which can lead to a host of negative outcomes including decreased relationship satisfaction (Harasymchuk & Fehr, 2012;Tsapelas, Aron, & Orbuch, 2009). Fortunately, researchers have found an effective strategy to negate relational boredom: novel couple activities (e.g., Aron et al., 2000;Graham, 2008;Reissman et al., 1993). Reissman et al. (1993) were the first to establish novelty as a key factor in acquiring a relational benefit from couple activities. ...
... Fortunately, researchers have found an effective strategy to negate relational boredom: novel couple activities (e.g., Aron et al., 2000;Graham, 2008;Reissman et al., 1993). Reissman et al. (1993) were the first to establish novelty as a key factor in acquiring a relational benefit from couple activities. They compared couple activities that were novel with couple activities that were pleasant but mundane and found that novel couple activities significantly increased relationship satisfaction, while pleasant but mundane couple activities actually decreased relationship satisfaction. ...
Article
Full-text available
Intimate partner violence and sexual communication are two areas of research that have been extensively studied, but only few findings connect these areas. This literature review will examine the research that has been done on intimate partner violence, sexual communication and the connections between these two variables. In the light of the discoveries in this field of research, a U shape model is proposed to explain the connection between sexual communication and intimate partner violence. With this information, preventive interventions could be created to stop intimate partner violence before it happens. Full text available at https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://jiriri.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/V10_ONLINE.pdf
... For example, joint activities as routine maintenance behaviors may enhance relationship quality (Dainton et al., 1994). Other research indicates no relationship between joint activities and relational quality (Berg, Trost, Schneider, & Allison, 2001;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993). No previous research has examined the relational effects of increased mutual meal times. ...
... Based on AET (Floyd, 2006(Floyd, , 2019, we predicted that individuals who increased cuddling behaviors with a spouse (treatment condition) would report greater relational satisfaction, investment, and commitment, and lower quality of alternatives, compared to those who increased time spent together performing a shared activity (comparison condition) and those who did not change their behavior (control condition). Further, as not all routine shared activities increase relational quality (Berg et al., 2001;Reissman et al., 1993), a research question asked whether the comparison and control condition differed on the four relational outcomes. ...
Article
This study examined the longitudinal effects of cuddling on relational quality for married couples. In a four-week experiment, 80 adults were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: increased cuddling (treatment), increased time spent together (comparison), or no change in behavior (control). Controlling for the pretest relational quality scores and changes in kissing behavior, individuals in the treatment condition reported more relational satisfaction and lower quality of alternatives after four weeks than did individuals in the comparison and control conditions. The comparison and control conditions did not differ from each other on any relational outcomes.
... As depicted in Fig. 1, we first hypothesized that higher relationship satisfaction would be associated with more joint health behaviors (H1). Given the cross-sectional nature of our data and the likely bidirectional association between relationship satisfaction and joint health behaviors [28,29], we evaluated this link with a correlational test. Next, associations with relationship satisfaction and joint health behaviors were tested in a sequential fashion. ...
... This conceptual model details the theorized associations of relationship satisfaction and joint health behaviors with more favorable health outcomes and stronger health concordance between partners. According to prior work, relationship satisfaction and joint health behaviors are likely to bolster each other: more satisfied couples are more likely to choose to engage in shared routines [28], which then can feedback to reinforce their bond [29]. Given the cross-sectional nature of our data, we tested this association with a correlation. ...
Article
Extensive evidence shows that satisfying marriages boost physical health and longevity. A separate literature reveals strong concordance in couples’ health, but the relationship processes that contribute to health concordance remain poorly understood. The current study examined whether relationship satisfaction and joint health behaviors—the extent to which couples eat, sleep, and exercise together—are associated simultaneously with better health and greater health similarity between partners. Heterogeneous variance multilevel models were applied to data from 234 married couples (Mage = 46, Range = 20–84) reporting on their relationship satisfaction, joint health behaviors, and four health indicators—health satisfaction, depressive symptoms, comorbidities, and medication use. More satisfied couples engaged in more joint health behaviors than less satisfied counterparts. When joint health behaviors and relationship satisfaction were examined as separate fixed effects, both predicted greater health satisfaction and fewer depressive symptoms. More joint health behaviors were also associated with less medication use. When both were modeled together, only relationship satisfaction predicted depressive symptoms. By contrast, in random effects, joint health behaviors predicted greater similarity in health satisfaction, depressive symptoms, and comorbidities. Relationship satisfaction only predicted more similar depressive symptoms. Although more satisfied couples engaged in more joint health behaviors. relationship satisfaction and joint health behaviors uniquely predicted couples’ health quality and concordance, suggesting that distinct mechanisms may drive better health and stronger health resemblance.
... For instance, it has been suggested that the time spent together as a couple has a direct influence on the perceived quality of the romantic relationship [18,20]. Joint or collaborative engagement in daily activities, especially those that involve new experiences, have been shown to contribute to the well-being of respective partners [17,19,21] as well as feelings of mutuality as a couple [13,22,23]. Some researchers have suggested couples should spend more time on joint activities [17,19], particularly those activities that are more social or leisure in nature [13,17,19]. ...
... While it is thought that a couple's mutuality can be strengthened when a partner shares a similar perception in terms of these activities, we do not in fact know the impact of perceptual congruence with respect to time use on their relationship. Hence, examining and understanding similarities and differences in perceived time-use patterns between partners with regard to activities is important given what is known about the impact of time use on relationship quality [13,19,22]. Many studies of time-use patterns [24][25][26] have considered individuals as singular entities in terms of analyzing their everyday activities when in fact, daily life, for those in partnered (coupled) relationships, requires a complex interplay between individuals and their respective patterns of engagement. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Perceptual congruence has been defined as the level of agreement between partners on various aspects of their shared lives, including perceived engagement in individual and jointly performed activities. While the level of adjustment made by partners to such activities is thought to contribute to a couple’s sense of mutuality, perceptions of time use concerning activity engagement has yet to be considered. As such, this study will determine the level of perceptual congruence between partners with respect to perceived time use in their respective and shared activities. Objective: The primary objective of the IP-COUPLES study is to determine the similarities and differences between partners in terms of their perceptual congruence with respect to independent and jointly performed activities. This study will also examine the association between independent and joint activities in terms of perceptual congruence of time use and the strength of this association. Methods: This descriptive observational study includes 100 couples from Western Switzerland who are recruited using snowball sampling methods. The Life Balance Inventory (LBI), a self-report questionnaire that captures activity configuration congruence, will measure independent and joint perceptions of both time use allocated to daily activities and corresponding satisfaction. Due to COVID-19, the protocol can be administered virtually by the primary investigator. The mean scores of perceptual congruence variables will be used for analysis, namely perceived congruence of time use in terms of independent and jointly performed activities. For the first objective, an independent t test will be used for each variable to compare the mean score between activities on the LBI. For the second objective, the correlations between the mean scores for these activities will be calculated for each variable using the Pearson correlation. Results: The IP-COUPLES study protocol was developed in 2019 and 2020. Enrollment began in June 2020. Data collection will continue until October 2021 to account for time needed for recruitment due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Analysis and presentation of results are expected in 2022. Conclusions: This study is exploratory, as it is the first to our knowledge to investigate how perceived time-use patterns with respect to independent or jointly performed activities are similar or different among romantic couples. By investigating the interpersonal perception of time-use patterns among couples, the IP-COUPLES study is an important first step to understanding how romantic partners’ daily activities are contributing to the level of satisfaction as a partner and as a couple and to the sense of mutuality between partners in a romantic relationship.
... In other words, novelty-variety should not only become salient at times of threat or when it has been deprived. In line with this notion, previous research suggests that novelty-variety has implications for many positive outcomes in a variety of different settings, such as for exercise adherence and performance (e.g., Sylvester et al. 2016b;Juvancic-Heltzel et al. 2013), life satisfaction and intrinsic motivation (González-Cutre et al. 2016), relationship satisfaction and quality (Aron et al. 2000;Reissman et al. 1993), and consumer choices (i.e., Wood 2004) to name a few. The presence of novelty-variety has also been associated with greater cognitive flexibility and creativity (Parmelee and Lawton 1990). ...
... Importantly, recognizing that novelty-variety may be a basic psychological need can lead to the development of interventions designed to optimize experiences of novelty-variety in an effort to increase health, engagement, and well-being. Such interventions are already being tested in sports and physical activities (i.e., Sylvester et al. 2016a, b) and for couples (i.e., Reissman et al. 1993) with promising results. Previous research has found that interventions that provide support for other needs (autonomy, competence, and/or relatedness) can be successful in affecting changes in health behaviours (i.e., increased exercise and healthy eating : Fenner et al. 2013;decreased smoking;Williams et al. 2011) and increasing children's learning (e.g., Guay et al. 2016). ...
Article
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This paper investigates the plausibility of novelty–variety as a potential basic psychological need in a series of three studies. Using criteria proposed by Baumeister and Leary (Psychol Bull 117:497–529, 1995) and Ryan and Deci (in Self-determination theory: basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. Guilford Publishing, New York, 2017) to establish a motive as a basic human need, we focus on those criteria where evidence is lacking. Specifically, we examine whether novelty–variety is distinct from other needs in Basic Psychological Need Theory (BPNT) proposed by Self-Determination Theory (SDT), whether its absence results in adverse effects and its satisfaction uniquely predicts well-being outcomes, and whether the effects are different across age and personality. In Study 1, participants (N = 202) rated novelty–variety and needs from BPNT (competence, autonomy, relatedness) in three domains to assess its independence from these needs and the extent to which novelty–variety uniquely relates to domain-specific well-being. In Study 2 (N = 414), the fulfillment of novelty–variety and two BPNT needs (autonomy and relatedness) was experimentally manipulated in work-related vignettes, further showing that unsatisfied novelty–variety is related to lower well-being. Finally, the third study (N = 599) accounts for some of the limitations in Study 2 and examines the criteria of universality. Based on the examined criteria, all three studies provide support for further considering novelty–variety as a potential basic psychological need.
... Individuals seek such growth to improve their efficacy and develop new self-concepts. That is, they search to develop new parts of their identity through challenging, arousing, and novel activity (e.g., Reissman et al., 1993). Self-expansion theory claims that relationships shape our identity and help us to gain access to new types of resources (e.g., new friends through our partner's social network; new materials when partners cohabit together; more money) or new types of activities (e.g., one partner helping the other to discover new interests, such as classical music, bricolage skills, or eco-friendly everyday behaviours). ...
... This line of research might partly explain why excitement, fun, or surprise often buffer against the diminution of a partner's perception of the positive quality of their relationship, and foster satisfaction in romantic relationships (Aron et al., 1998(Aron et al., , 2013Harasymchuk & Fehr, 2013;Reissman et al., 1993;Strong & Aron, 2006). It is possible that the sharing of some dyadic activities in the romantic relationship may promote flourishing as these activities can be perceived as surprising and exciting, and may thus be identified as a potential source of expansion by the dyad (Damasio, 2018;Malouff et al., 2015). ...
Article
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Everyday creative behaviours seem to be associated with high levels of wellbeing. Yet, the effects of creativity on wellbeing remain largely unknown, notably at a dyadic level, and particularly in the context of romantic relationships. Previous research has studied the effects of creativity on romantic relationships but has been limited by the two main epistemological assumptions that we present in this article. Consequently, very little is known about the effect of a form of creativity that may occur at a dyadic level in a romantic relationship, and that may have implications in the science of human flourishing. In other words, the research field lacks a theoretical framework for studying the effect of creativity in romantic relationships on wellbeing. The present theoretical framework aims to fill this gap by proposing a dyadic dimension of creativity embedded within wellbeing: romantic creativity. Romantic creativity is conceptualised as an observable, quantifiable, yet non-product-hierarchic phenomenon. It is defined as a dyadic process which favours new and meaningful directions in a romantic relationship through dynamics of discovery and self-expansion in one or both members of the dyad. This article describes the epistemological foundations of this theoretical framework and draws on existing research on self-expansion and the neuroscience of wellbeing to hypothesise the processes that might account for the effect of romantic creativity on human flourishing. We also identify two possible ontological perspectives for research on romantic creativity. The present article proposes that romantic creativity might help dyads to flourish through the processes implied in homeodynamics and dyadic self-expansion.
... Other studies have come to similar results, concluding that habituation (getting tired of the other) in marital couples may be an obstacle to relationship maintenance and that marital couples need to engage in activities that are exciting and pleasant to sustain their relationship in a satisfactory condition. Therefore, time spent together may lead to a decline in relationship satisfaction if the relationship is not expanding the self (Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993). Other reasons for the termination of the cofounder relationship point to the occurrence of interpersonal conflicts as reasons for partner breakup (Bird, 1989;Boyd & Gumpert, 1983;Kamm & Nurick, 1993;Watson et al., 1995). ...
... It is assumed that spending time together may expand the self, if partners engage in exciting and stimulating activities (causing satisfaction). On the other hand, spending time together may also cause habituation, i.e. having the feeling of getting tired of the other person (causing dissatisfaction) (Reissman et al., 1993). ...
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Several contributions from organizational, strategy and entrepreneurship research emphasize the cofounder relationship as a promising concept to explain the success of growing companies and acknowledge its peculiarities in contrast to conventional group or team behavior. Despite the recognized relevance of the cofounder relationship for organizational success, there has not been any systematic attempt to examine how a cofounder relationship develops in the course of venture creation and growth, even though most start-up teams split up in their first years of founding. As a result, key questions about the origins, evolution and stabilization of the cofounder relationship remain unresolved and a profound understanding of what dynamics of a relationship affect relationship maintenance and business innovation is missing. Drawing on insights from two different research disciplines, couple research and management research, I place the cofounder relationship as a central theoretical concept in the foreground of my research, especially the development of the quality of interaction among the members of a team from the perspective of the founders' subjective expectations of the relationship itself as well as the joint start-up project in order to find out how the founder's relationship and capabilities develop and stabilize over time. To examine these questions, I focus on the most prominent form of cofounder teams, i.e. dyadic team constellations, and draw on the findings of six case studies from a qualitative-exploratory and procedural analysis design to shed light on the phenomenon under study. Based on the theoretical and empirical investigations, this work shows that (1) the cofounder relationship may be better understood by examining the founders’ individual expectations of autonomy and connection in their relationship (relationship expectation) as well as their expectations on the development and growth of their organizations (business expectation) over time, (2) relationship expectations in early stages of business creation are proximity-oriented, whereas cofounders place greater emphasis on autonomy in later stages of development and, ultimately, on achieving a balance of closeness and distance, (3) business expectations in early start-up phases are generally illusory and cofounders focus on converging and overly optimistic goals, whereas over time, individual business expectations are weighted more and the tolerance to accept expectations discrepancies decreases, (4) adapting and synchronizing diverging goal expectations and entrepreneurial actions becomes a critical skill for stable teams, (5) relationship expectations and growth expectations co-evolve in a dynamic way and cofounder relationships embrace contradictory needs that are constantly present and striving for balance, (6) relationship stability can only be achieved by maintaining relationships through an ongoing dialectical flux and by reaching a dynamic equilibrium in relationship definition and satisfaction levels of individuals. Overall, the findings of this dissertation offer contributions to better understanding the complex and multi-dimensional nature of the cofounder relationship as well as the development of internal relationship structures and provide a number of implications for further empirical research.
... Between persons, rapid expansion of the self often occurs when forming a new romantic relationship and is posited to result in high levels of excited, positive affect. The theory proposes that self-expansion develops positive feelings during new important relationships, resulting in positive affect, commitment and a high degree of satisfaction (Agnew et al., 1998;McIntyre et al., 2014;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993). ...
... In psychology, people who experienced selfexpansion during volunteering reported that they had consistent psychological development and personal growth (Harris, 2011). Self-expansion leads to positive affective and interpersonal relationship quality (Reissman et al., 1993) and a better understanding of specific subjects (i.e. exercise, travel, religion) . ...
Article
Fans follow pop-stars as an extension of them and exhibit commitment to participate in pop-star-related activities given existing leisure constraints. This study identified self-expansion as an important characteristic of fans to offset perceived constraints, thus increasing fans’ participation in pop-star’s activities. A conceptual framework was developed to predict pop-star fans’ intention to participate in pop-star’s activities, employing the concepts of self-expansion, commitment, involvement and leisure constraints. Surveys of Korean pop-star fans (n = 393) were analyzed with structural equation modelling. Results revealed that fans’ commitment had a significant impact on leisure activity participation. Furthermore, fans’ inherent motivation for self-expansion was a critical factor in alleviating perceived leisure constraints, which enabled them to participate in leisure events. This study contributes to the literature by offering a new perspective on the role of fans’ psychological characteristics in decreasing leisure constraints. Meaningful recommendations for destination marketers include addressing fans’ unique characteristics and behaviours.
... However, the literature supports our contention that activities in relationships have meaningful causal effects on relationship outcomes. For instance, engaging in exciting (Reissman et al., 1993) and self-expanding (Muise et al., 2019) activities increases romantic desire and satisfaction in marriages. Indeed, musical activities are often included in inventories of "relationship maintenance activities" that predict relationship quality (Girme et al., 2014), but their unique predictive power has not been examined. ...
Article
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Sharing music with another person involves the potential for profound emotional connection, rhythmic synchronization and coordination, and the expression of shared social and political values (among other things). We explore whether experiences of shared musical activity are associated with perceptions of communication and positive outcomes in friendships and romantic relationships, using reports from one member of the dyad. Reports of musical activities in the relationship were associated with higher levels of commitment to the relationship, with those effects mediated by perceptions of interpersonal coordination and positive communication. Surprisingly, structured musical activities (e.g., actively playing music together) were associated with lower levels of commitment, both directly and via interpersonal coordination, positive communication, and shared social values. All findings persist when controlling for other forms of shared relationship activities, thus demonstrating effects that are unique to shared musical engagement. The findings are discussed in a framework of music’s potential relational power—the Shared Musical Activities in Relationships (SMAR) model.
... In the analysis examining the nine specific emotions, happiness and excitement are the positive emotions that independently account for significant variance (with excitement having the larger coefficient). This finding relates conceptually to Aron's model of "self-expansion" (Aron & Aron, 1997), the idea that encountering or forming a relationship with another generates positive feelings-specifically of excitement-due to inclusion of the other in the self (Reissman et al., 1993). The applicability of the self-expansion model to HRI-where excitement might be enhanced by the novelty of the experience-has not yet been examined, but represents an interesting direction for future research. ...
Article
Like early work on human intergroup interaction, previous research on people’s willingness to interact with robots has focused mainly on effects of anxiety. However, existing findings suggest that other negative emotions as well as some positive emotions also have effects. This article systematically examines the roles of positive and negative emotions in predicting willingness to interact with robots, using an integrative analysis of data across five studies that use diverse interaction conditions and several types of robots. We hypothesize and find that positive emotions account for more variance than negative emotions. Practically, the findings suggest new strategies for interventions, aimed at increasing positive emotions to increase willingness to engage in intergroup interaction. No existing work has examined whether positive emotions are stronger predictors than negative emotions for willingness for human intergroup interaction, an important topic for future research.
... Moreover, several studies suggest that, in the context of ongoing relationships, there may be strong benefits to be gained from participating in novel and arousing activities that lead to self-expansion or excitement and are associated with rapid self-expansion. Conversely, participation in pleasant but mundane activities that are neither self-expanding nor exciting may provide little or no benefit (Aron et al., 2000;Lewandowski & Aron, 2003;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993). In the context of ongoing relationships with brands, self-expansion is tied to the brand's ability to keep on expanding. ...
Article
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Although brands offer different kinds of rewards through their loyalty programs, little is known about how they can impact consumer–brand relationships and brand attitude. How do loyalty program rewards influence the consumer–brand relationship? And which kinds of rewards establish or maintain closer relationships between consumers and brands than others? To answer these questions, the present research makes use of self‐expansion theory (Aron & Aron, 1986) and two experiments that manipulate the extraordinary character of rewards offered to consumers. Our findings show that special rewards produce higher self‐expansion than mundane rewards. Moreover, the positive effect of the rewards’ extraordinary character on brand evaluation, recommendation, and identification is sequentially and fully mediated by self‐brand inclusion and self‐expansion. Finally, we show that consumer satisfaction moderates the impact of special and mundane rewards on self‐brand inclusion.
... For instance, shared play that is more novel in nature may be especially likely to generate relationship excitement and reduce relationship boredom. Work by Aron and colleagues on shared novel and exciting activities support this claim (Aron & Aron, 1986;Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993), as does work by Malouff and colleagues (Malouff et al., 2012;Malouff, Mundy, Galea, & Bothma, 2015). Shared novel play activities may serve not only as a means of sparking excitement in the relationship, but may also serve communicative and relationship maintenance functions. ...
Article
Although play has been linked to psychological and physical well-being in childhood, little work has examined benefits of play in adulthood. Play may be especially important in the context of coping with a chronic illness such as type 1 diabetes as self-care involves a difficult daily process. We hypothesized that daily play with one’s romantic partner would be linked to better mood, greater diabetes disclosure, greater support receipt, greater perceived coping effectiveness with one’s most important daily stressors, and better self-care regarding type 1 diabetes. We examined these hypotheses in a sample of 199 adults with type 1 diabetes. Participants completed daily diary measures of play with their partner and proposed outcomes for 14 days. Daily play was linked to better mood, greater diabetes disclosure to one’s partner, greater support received from one’s partner, and greater perceived coping effectiveness with the day’s most important diabetes and general stressors. However, daily play was unrelated to self-care. Mediation analyses further indicated that positive mood explained links from daily play to perceived coping effectiveness, and diabetes disclosure explained links from daily play to support. These findings indicate that having fun with one’s partner may have important psychological and relationship benefits for individuals with chronic illness. More work needs to be conducted to examine links from daily play to self-care. Implications are discussed.
... Engaging in shared selfexpanding activities as a couple is associated with greater self-other overlap (i.e., expanding the self to include aspects of the partner) and can motivate partners to engage in more relationship maintenance behaviors (e.g., physical affection, accommodation, and willingness to sacrifice; Aron & Aron, 1996;Ledbetter, 2013;McIntyre, Mattingly, & Lewandowski, 2015). Experimental evidence from in-lab studies (Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000;Graham & Harf, 2015) and "homeworkstyle" studies (e.g., engaging in one exciting activity per week for 90 min; Coulter & Malouff, 2013;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993) demonstrates that self-expansion increases relationship quality. However, past research on self-expansion has primarily focused on community samples who are typically highly satisfied with their relationships. ...
Article
Regular positive sexual interactions are one reason why relationships have health and well-being benefits, yet low sexual desire is among the most common sexual problems reported by women. One interpersonal factor that has been associated with greater sexual desire and satisfaction in community couples is self-expansion (i.e., expanding one’s sense of self through novel, exciting, and broadening activities with a partner). In the current study, we recruited 97 couples in which the woman was diagnosed with clinically low sexual desire to test how self-expansion was associated with both partners’ sexual and relationship well-being. When women with low desire reported higher self-expansion, they reported greater relationship and sexual satisfaction, higher desire, and couples were more affectionate. When their partners reported higher self-expansion, they felt more satisfied with their sex life and relationship (and so did the women), lower sexual distress and less relationship conflict, and couples were more affectionate. Our findings suggest that self-expansion is associated with greater relationship and sexual well-being for couples with low desire, as well as less sexual distress and relationship conflict. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.
... This finding mirrors individual and dyadic findings, which have also suggested that couple pornography use may be related to positive sexual dynamics (Bridges & Morokoff, 2011;Grov et al., 2011;Yucel & Gassanov, 2010). For individuals in committed relationships who continue to utilize pornography, such satisfaction may be derived from couples engaging in shared activities (Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993) that may promote positive sexual interactions. Alternatively, it is important to note that our data do not fully parcel out whether joint pornography use itself is the reason for the higher association with sexual satisfaction or if it is simply a proxy for underlying jointly held values. ...
Article
Most previous research on the associations between pornography use and relational well-being has utilized individual data sets that have limited scholars’ ability to truly understand the dyadic nature of pornography use within romantic couples. Using a dyadic data set of 240 committed heterosexual couples from the United States, we explored actor and partner associations between pornography use, sexual dynamics, and relational well-being. We also explored how couple pornography use and partner knowledge of pornography use were associated with well-being. Results suggested that female pornography use was associated with higher female sexual desire but no other dependent variables. Male pornography use was associated with a wide array of negative well-being indicators, including less male and female relationship satisfaction, lower female sexual desire, and lower male positive communication. Couple pornography use was associated with higher reported sexual satisfaction for both partners but no other well-being indicators. Partner knowledge of use had little direct association with well-being, but some evidence suggested that unknown individual use may be associated with less sexual satisfaction but more relationship satisfaction. Results suggest that different configurations of use among heterosexual couples are associated with varying relational well-being indicators.
... For example, researchers randomly assigned married couples to do activities the couple rated as exciting or pleasant each week for ten weeks. The couples who engaged in activities that they rated as exciting compared to pleasant increased in relationship satisfaction over time (Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993). We speculate that engaging in risky eating with friends-especially when trying to avoid it-may be an exciting activity, thereby increasing feelings of interpersonal closeness. ...
Article
Risky eating—that is, indulging in ultra-processed, high-calorie foods including sweets, salty snacks, and/or fried foods—harms physical health. Yet, risky eating is pervasive with many people unwilling to give it up. Why do people engage in risky eating despite known risks? The current research tests a novel hypothesis that engaging in risky eating with friends increases feelings of interpersonal closeness. In Study 1, participants (N = 385) reported how often they engaged in risky eating in three non-romantic/non-familial relationships with varying degrees of interpersonal closeness. Individuals more frequently engaged in risky eating in their closer relationships than in their less close ones. In Study 2, participants (N = 100) were randomly assigned to perceive they were engaging in high-risk versus low-risk eating behavior with a friend. They then reported feelings of interpersonal closeness as well as chose how close to sit to their friend. Individuals who were randomly assigned to perceive they were engaging in high-risk eating behavior with a friend reported increased feelings of interpersonal closeness. Also, restrained eaters in the high-risk eating behavior condition reported greater feelings of interpersonal closeness while eating, which was mediated by increased feelings of activated positive affect (e.g., excited, alert). No effect on how close participants sat to their friend was observed. Overall, the current research highlights a previously unstudied pathway from risky eating to excitement to feelings of interpersonal closeness. This provides insight into one psychosocial process that may undermine personal and public health efforts.
... Thus, sharing enjoyable activities appears to bring partners closer together and to reinforce their romantic relationship because of the positive emotions that they both experience throughout the joint activity (Kilbourne et al. 1990; Kingston and Nock 1987;Orden and Bradburn 1968;Orthner 1975;White 1983). However, not all joint activities are relationship enhancing (Reissman et al. 1993). Two partners may, for instance, practice a sport together and constantly argue because they are overly competitive. ...
Article
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The Dualistic Model of Passion (Vallerand et al. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 756–767, 2003) suggests the existence of two types of passion: harmonious (HP) and obsessive (OP). Previous research in positive psychology has shown that passion can be oriented toward activities, as well as romantic partners, and that both are important for people’s well-being and relationships. The purpose of the present research was to integrate these two areas of passion by examining how one’s type of passion for a joint activity and for a romantic partner influences the experience of positive and negative emotions during the joint activity, and its impact on the strengthening of the relationship. Results from a path analysis (N = 205) revealed that HP for the joint activity and for the romantic partner both positively predicted the experience of positive emotions during the joint activity that, in turn, positively predicted the strengthening of the relationship. Conversely, OP for the joint activity and for the romantic partner both positively predicted the experience of negative emotions during the joint activity that, in turn, negatively predicted the strengthening of the relationship. These findings suggest that these two domains of passion make an important and unique contribution to romantic relationships.
... In this way, leisure time can serve as an important contributor to relationship adjustment by providing opportunities for partners to enjoy one another and build closer bonds that help to maintain the relationship. Reissman, Aron, and Bergen (1993) demonstrated, however, that purely asking couples to spend more time together is not an effective intervention for improving relationship satisfaction, suggesting that more time together does not guarantee satisfactory time together. What, then, can improve partners' satisfaction with their time together, in hopes of improving relationship functioning? ...
Article
Bowen Family Systems Theory predicts that the ability to balance emotional intimacy with one’s partner with one's own sense of autonomy, called differentiation of self, results in stronger relationships. We tested whether this balance manifests in how individuals manage their time spent with and without their partner. Analyses utilized differentiation of self, leisure time balance with and without one's partner, and couple leisure satisfaction to predict dyadic adjustment. Although leisure time balance did not mediate the relationship between differentiation of self and relationship functioning, couple leisure satisfaction was found to partially mediate this relationship. The moderating effect of differentiation was also examined, which demonstrated that differentiation of self buffered the relationship between low couple leisure time satisfaction and relationship adjustment.
... It is assumed that the exhilaration associated with romantic love would be related to the experience of such self-expansion through the inclusion of partner's characteristics into one's self content (Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000). Consistent with this view, self-expansion has been linked to positive outcomes in romantic relationships, such as admiration for the romantic partner, greater levels of satisfaction, commitment, and passion (Aron et al., 2000;Fivecoat, Tomlinson, Aron, & Caprariello, 2015;Mattingly, Lewandowski, & McIntyre, 2014;Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993;Schindler, Paech, & Löwenbrück, 2015). Moreover, to the extent romantic partner's perspectives and identities are experienced as one's own, these partner's characteristics thus turn out to be cognitively linked to one's sense of self, leading to an overlap of representations of self and other (Aron & Aron, 1986). ...
Article
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Romantic love has long intrigued scientists in various disciplines. Social-cognitive research has provided ample evidence for overlapping mental representations of self and romantic partner. This overlap between self and romantic partner would contribute to the experience of love and has been found to be a predictor of relationship quality. Self-partner overlap has been mainly documented at the level of conceptual or narrative self, with studies showing confusion between one’s own and partner’s identity aspects, perspectives, and outcomes. But the self is not restricted to abstract, conceptual representations but also involves body-related representations, which, research has revealed, are linked to social-cognitive processes. In this article, we review the emerging evidence that romantic love involves not only a blurring of conceptual selves but also a reduction of the distinction between self and romantic partner at a bodily level. We discuss the potential function(s) of self-other overlap in romantic relationship at the level of body-related representations and consider possible mechanisms. We conclude with possible future directions to further investigate how romantic love engages embodied self-other representations involved in social interactions.
... Again, by expressing the subject of study, each interview with the patients and their families was begun, then participants were asked about what they need to know about sexuality (in patients) and patients' sexuality (in their families). After initial responses, probes and reflective statements were used to encourage experiential specificity (Reissman et al., 1993). Approval for the study license was obtained from the Research Ethics Committee of … . ...
Article
Objective This paper has attempted to explore factors which should be considered in designing a sexuality education package for severe mental illness. Method: Twenty-one in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted in one of the psychiatric hospitals in Tehran. All participants were selected by purposive sampling. Interviews continued until data were saturated. Using conventional qualitative content analysis, data reduction was done by MAXQDA 10 software. Findings: Qualitative interview analysis revealed 222 codes which are summarized in 15 subcategories and 3 categories including “key competences must be created”, “Educational package features” and “Educational Organization”. Conclusion: Sexual package should provide necessary information, improve risk perception and motivate learning of sexual issues in these patients. Also, providing an appropriate educational package should be concise, ordered and comprehensive.
... It will be important in future research to investigate whether couples are in social organizations together and the extent to which they participate in social activities together or separately. Couples who engage in exciting activities together also report high marital satisfaction, and this is attributed to self-expansion theory (Reissman et al., 1993). Encouraging a spouse to participate in social organizations may also be an important way to help one another thrive (Feeney & Collins, 2015), and measuring encouragement for participating in activities may also help elucidate these findings . ...
Article
Objectives Research shows that social participation is beneficial for overall health and well-being. Yet, no research to our knowledge has examined whether social participation is associated with greater marital satisfaction in middle-aged and older couples. We hypothesized that middle-aged and older adults would have greater marital satisfaction when their spouse engaged in social groups because there would be greater opportunity for self-expansion and for social support from ties outside the marriage. Methods We used background self-report data from a multi-method study of 98 middle-aged and older adult married couples ( N = 196) with chronic conditions. As part of the study, spouses completed questionnaires that measured the frequency and intensity of involvement in social groups (e.g., church, business groups). Marital satisfaction was measured with the Locke Wallace Marital Adjustment Test. Results Contrary to our hypotheses, results from actor–partner interdependence models provided no evidence that one’s own social participation was associated with one’s own marital satisfaction (actor effects). However, in line with our hypotheses regarding partner effects, one spouse’s (a) report of any social participation with church organizations, business groups, or social groups, (b) greater number of affiliations with different organizations, (c) greater frequency of participation, and (d) being an active officer in a social organization were significantly associated with the other spouse’s greater marital satisfaction. Discussion Findings of this study suggest that having a spouse who participates in social groups is good for relationship satisfaction in mid to late life marriage.
... By engaging in self-expanding activities together, romantic partners can reap many benefits. One such benefit is that engaging in self-expanding activities together, in both longitudinal studies (Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993) and laboratory studies (Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000), results in increased relationship satisfaction, passion, and love. Romantic partners who engage in self-expanding activities express greater feelings of sexual desire, which in turn predicts greater relationship satisfaction (Muise et al., 2019). ...
Chapter
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People’s selves are created, altered, and maintained both by their personal experiences in the world, but also through their experiences in close relationships. Thus, the way that people see and define who they are can be shaped and changed due to the relationships in which they find themselves. Although many different types of relationships can impact people’s identities, romantic relationships, as one of the closest relational bonds that adults experience, appear to be especially powerful in shaping the self. This relationship-induced self-change can occur in the initial attraction phase of a relationship, during ongoing relationships, and when relationships end. The goal of the current chapter is to detail various impacts that close relationships, particularly romantic relationships, have on people’s identities during the early and ongoing phases of romantic relationships. The current chapter also seeks to highlight motivating antecedents and moderating factors of these impacts and to discuss remaining questions and directions for future research.
... The results of these analyses also support the inferences we make here. that link the experience of shared novel and exciting activities with relationship functioning (Aron et al., 1992(Aron et al., , 2000Reissman et al., 1993). Further experimental research in this vein should consider whether the introduction of (or increase in) shared pornography use can improve relationship and sexual satisfaction within couples to determine if causal claims are warranted. ...
Article
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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 contrast to dominant theoretical explanations in this field, we argue that at least some of the apparent negative “impacts” of pornography use on relationship quality may reflect partner dissimilarity in pornography use behavior rather than the consequences of exposure to such materials. Moreover, we further examine a particular type of pornography use – shared use with a partner – which previous evidence suggests may be positively associated with relationship quality. To this end, we sought to test whether dyadic patterns of pornography use, and related attributes, were associated with sexual and relationship satisfaction in two cross-sectional (N1 = 200; N3 = 207) and two longitudinal (N2 = 77; N4 = 277) samples of heterosexual couples. Across these samples, we found consistent evidence that partners who watch pornography together report higher relationship and sexual satisfaction than partners who do not, and notably, this association was not moderated by gender. Independent of this association, we also found evidence of a similarity-dissimilarity effect, such that the solitary pornography use of one partner was negatively associated with their own relationship and sexual satisfaction, but only in cases where their romantic partners used little or no pornography alone. Further consideration of several correlates of pornography use established comparable patterns of results for dissimilarity in attitudes toward pornography, erotophobia-erotophilia, sexual preferences, and sex drive. Importantly, only dissimilarity in sex drive statistically accounted for dissimilarity in solitary pornography use, suggesting that differences in sex drive may be implicated in the associations between pornography use and relationship quality. These findings demonstrate that links between pornography use and relationship health are partially a function of different dyadic patterns of pornography use within couples and do not always suggest relational harm.
... In contrast, the idea put forth in the Self-Expansion Model that novel, exciting activities are a possible means for improving romantic passion has received empirical support (Aron et al., 2000;Coulter & Malouf, 2013;Muise et al., 2019a;Reissman et al., 1993). For instance, couples randomly assigned to engage in novel and exciting activities, compared with couples randomly assigned to engage in familiar and comfortable activities or a control condition in which couples were not instructed to engage in any activities, reported greater sexual desire for their partner (Muise et al., 2019a). ...
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In an integrative review, we examine four theories and models of romantic passion to determine what causes feelings of romantic passion. Although a growing consensus has emerged for the definition of romantic passion, we suggest that this is largely not the case for the source of romantic passion. We outline how four different perspectives—Limerence Theory, the Rate of Change in Intimacy Model, the Self‐Expansion Model, and the Triangular Theory of Love—propose four different potential sources of romantic passion and review empirical support in favor and against each. For each of these perspectives, we additionally outline the predicted trajectory of passion that follows from each theorized source of passion, as well as each perspective's view on the ability for passion to be controlled and up‐regulated. In identifying ways in which these theories and models offer conflicting predictions about the source of romantic passion, this review points to ways in which a more comprehensive model may be developed that integrates across these four perspectives.
... The results of these analyses also support the inferences we make here. that link the experience of shared novel and exciting activities with relationship functioning (Aron et al., 1992(Aron et al., , 2000Reissman et al., 1993). Further experimental research in this vein should consider whether the introduction of (or increase in) shared pornography use can improve relationship and sexual satisfaction within couples to determine if causal claims are warranted. ...
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 in this field, we argue instead that the apparent negative “impact” of pornography use on relationship quality may be the product of partner similarity or differences in pornography use behavior. Independent of any direct causal effect of sexual media, we would expect that negative relationship functioning should be more prominent among couples who are dissimilar in their pornography use, because dissimilarity in this behavior suggests broader dissimilarity in sexual interests, preferences, and values. To this end, we sought to test whether dyadic patterns of pornography use, and related attributes, were associated with sexual and relationship satisfaction in two cross-sectional (N = 407; n1 = 200; n3 = 207) and two longitudinal (N2 = 77; N4 = 529) samples of heterosexual couples. Across studies, results indicated that shared pornography use and partner similarity in solitary pornography use relative to dissimilarity in solitary pornography use were both associated with better sexual satisfaction and to a lesser extent, relationship satisfaction. Further consideration of potential explanatory mechanisms for these associations established comparable patterns of results for similarity-dissimilarity in attitudes towards pornography, erotophobia-erotophilia, sexual preferences, and sex drive. Importantly, only similarity-dissimilarity in sex drive statistically accounted for the effects of similarity-dissimilarity in solitary pornography use. These findings demonstrate that links between pornography use and relationship health are partially a function of different dyadic patterns of pornography use within couples, a pattern of results that is difficult to account for with traditional exposure-based theories of the impact of pornography.
... Koval et al. (2015) found that partners with high self-control experienced a greater burden from the partner relying on them, which could undermine their relationship satisfaction. Moreover, individuals with low self-control are viewed as more spontaneous and interesting (Zabelina et al., 2007), are less predictable (van Steenbergen et al., 2014), and display more non-normative behaviors (DeBono et al., 2011), making the relationship potentially more exciting and therefore satisfying (Reissman et al., 1993). Such processes may partly compensate for the general positive relationship outcomes of high self-control. ...
Article
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Previous research has demonstrated that trait self-control is related to a range of positive romantic relationship processes, suggesting that trait self-control should be positively and robustly linked to relationship satisfaction in both partners in a romantic relationship. However, the existing empirical evidence is limited and mixed, especially regarding partner effects (i.e., the effect of one’s self-control on the partner’s relationship satisfaction). With three datasets of heterosexual couples (S1: N = 195 newlyweds, longitudinal; S2: N = 249 couples who transition into first parenthood, longitudinal; S3: N = 929 couples, cross-sectional), the present pre-registered studies examined: (1) the dyadic associations between trait self-control and relationship satisfaction both cross-sectionally and longitudinally, and (2) whether these effects hold when controlling for both partners’ relationship commitment. The results indicated a cross-sectional positive actor effect, some support for a positive cross-sectional partner effect, and only little support for a longitudinal actor (but not partner) effect. After controlling for relationship commitment, all effects of trait self-control on satisfaction diminished except for a longitudinal actor effect among women in Study 2. Potential explanations for the current results, and implications for theory and practice, are discussed.
... In other words, time-use patterns can be seen as the time allocation to one's daily activities [29]. Published works on couples have suggested that the amount of time spent together has an influence on a romantic relationship [29][30][31][32][33]. Joint or collaborative engagement in daily activities, especially social activities and leisure, has been shown to contribute to the well-being of each respective partner [30,34], as well as to the good relationship of the couple [28,30]. ...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Interpersonal perception (IP) is defined as the reciprocal perceptions between two individuals and the degree of congruence between these perceptions. People in coupled relationships should develop accurate and prescient beliefs and perceptions about the other. So, understanding how each partner respectively perceives their level of integration in their couple is fundamental when addressing couples. But it is also important to consider how they view themselves as a coupled entity. Among other variables that are part of a couple relationship, each partner’s time-use patterns, namely the time allocation to one’s daily activities, have an influence on romantic relationships, considering the necessity of time allocation for shared activities between spouses, especially leisure and social activities. But the association between IP and its influence on couples has not yet been fully examined, especially when considering the couple as an entity alongside the independent perspective of each respective partner. OBJECTIVE IP-COUPLES study protocol aims to investigate the extent to which interpersonal perceptions of time-use patterns between partners is related to the interpersonal perception of time-use patterns of each individual as well as the coupled entity. Secondary objectives are threefold : 1) to determine the association between an individual’s self-assessment of his/her own time-use patterns, and their perception of this variable from the point of view of their respective partner, 2) to determine the association between one’s self-assessment of time-use patterns and their joint perception of this variable as a couple, 3) to determine the association between an individual’s perception of time-use patterns from the point of view of their respective partner and perception of time-use patterns from the perspective of the couple as a joint entity. METHODS This protocol is designed for a cross-sectional study. Using a set of questionnaires, the investigator will administrate a set of questionnaires to couples from a convenient sample. Questionnaires including a measure of time-use patterns, the Life-Balance Inventory, and socio-demographic questions, will be administered face-to-face, firstly individually with each partner. Partners will then collaborate to answer to the questionnaires as a couple. Using the scores, a model described in literature will be applied to measure IP of time-use patterns between partners and between each partner and the couple as a joint entity. Statistics calculations will be supported by SPSS Software RESULTS The IP-COUPLES study protocol was designed and built between 2019 and 2020. The enrollment will begin in June 2020 and will continue until March 2021. Analysis and presentation of results will be available at the end of 2021. CONCLUSIONS Findings could demonstrate differences in perceptions of time-use patterns between partners, and between each partner and the couple as a joint entity. Therefore, considerations for interventions on these differences will be explored.
Chapter
Having delineated the planning phase and implementing phase in the prior chapters, this chapter is committed to the last phase, namely the reflecting phase. Specifically, it delves into how the Chinese doctoral students (CDS) reflect on their overseas doctoral experience from a self-growth perspective.
Article
As a crucial component to preventing sexual boredom and maintaining sexual and relationship satisfaction, sexual novelty is a relational characteristic that warrants considerable empirical attention; however, there is relatively little research on the role that sexual novelty plays in long-term, committed relationships. As such, we developed a brief, reliable measure of sexual novelty to stimulate additional research in this area. Participants consisted of 518 U.S. citizens in committed relationships of 6 months or longer who were recruited online through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to complete surveys assessing “sexual relationships.” Across two samples, the unidimensional Sexual Novelty Scale (SNS) demonstrated high internal consistency and test-retest reliability, as well as convergent and divergent validity. Our results indicate that the 5-item Sexual Novelty Scale is a brief, reliable, and valid measure of the extent to which partners in committed romantic relationships engage in sexually novel behaviour.
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Cambridge Core - Social Psychology - The New Psychology of Love - edited by Robert J. Sternberg
Chapter
In this chapter, we develop a theoretical framework that explains how blogs can be categorized based on audiences’ perceptions and how bloggers use different strategies to shape or shift their audiences’ perceptions and increase the persuasiveness of their messages. We posit that bloggers use two distinguishable communication strategies: (a) developing and sustaining an illusion of relationship between the blogger and the reader in order to individualize the communication, and (b) maintaining a level of ambiguity in their commercial interests in order to conceal the commercial nature of some blogs. We describe the tactics underlying the use of these strategies as well as the efficacy and ethics of these practices.
Article
In the present investigation, we identified correlates of sexual novelty in existing relationships and also investigated whether experimentally manipulating persuasive information about sexual novelty could encourage sexual novelty within a relationship. Participants in committed relationships of 6 months or longer were recruited online through Amazon's Mechanical Turk to complete a two-part survey on sexual relationships. The initial survey (Time 1) was completed by 352 predominantly White US citizens (204 women, 146 men, 2 unreported), and a subset of 244 people (140 women, 101 men, 3 unreported) completed the follow-up survey two weeks later (Time 2). We found that several sex-positive personal characteristics (e.g., pornography use and sexual fantasy) and positive relational characteristics (e.g., commitment, egalitarianism, and sexual frequency) are related to engaging in sexual novelty, as well as desire for sexual novelty, willingness to initiate sexual novelty, and willingness to comply with partner-initiated sexual novelty. We also found that certain persuasive strategies (i.e., those incorporating fear appeals, narrative accounts, or examples of successful initiation strategies) may be effective at altering perceptions of sexual novelty and increasing novel intimate behavior between relationship partners.
Article
Past research has established the relational benefits of engaging in novel tasks with a romantic partner. However, little empirical evidence exists for the mechanisms responsible. The current research examined growth experiences—the proposed and tested mechanism in past work—as well as security experiences, a previously unexplored mechanism. Using a recall paradigm, Study 1 found that people reported high feelings of security (e.g., reliance, trust), in addition to growth (e.g., fun, excitement), when pursuing novel activities with a romantic partner. In Study 2, romantic couples engaged in a novel or control task. We assessed feelings of growth and security, and examined couples' post-task relationship satisfaction. Results revealed that while growth feelings mediated the link between task condition and relationship satisfaction, consistent with past work, so too did feelings of security. When growth and security were included as simultaneous mediators in the model, feelings of security emerged as a stronger mediator.
Chapter
Interdependence, Interaction, and Close Relationships - edited by Laura V. Machia June 2020
Article
Cambridge Core - Social Psychology - Interdependence, Interaction, and Close Relationships - edited by Laura V. Machia
Article
Spouses share common risks for cardiometabolic diseases: a person’s diabetes or hypertension raises the partner’s odds of developing the same condition. The mechanisms responsible for this disease concordance remain poorly understood. To examine three factors that may modulate partners’ cardiometabolic similarity—closeness, hostile marital behavior, and age—and to explore whether health behavior concordance plays a role, on two separate occasions 43 healthy couples ages 24 to 61 provided fasting glucose, metabolic data (fat and carbohydrate oxidation), and resting blood pressure before discussing one of their most severe marital disagreements. Accounting for the fixed effects of sex, age, study visit, and abdominal fat on cardiometabolic levels, we found that aspects of health behavior concordance were associated with greater similarity in glucose, diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Independent of health behavior concordance, partners who felt closer and behaved in a less hostile way had more similar rates of fat oxidation; less hostile partners also shared greater overlap in carbohydrate oxidation. Likewise, fasting glucose and DBP were more similar within older couples compared to younger pairs, beyond the effects of health behavior concordance. In sum, our data captured preclinical similarities in cardiometabolic health among disease-free couples, which may form the basis for their long-term overlapping disease risks. Closer, less hostile, and older couples shared more similar fasting glucose, metabolic data, and blood pressure; importantly, health behavior concordance did not explain all associations. These novel data suggest that multiple paths may lead to couples’ shared disease risks.
Book
Relationship maintenance encompasses a wide range of activities that partners use to preserve their relationships. Despite the importance of these efforts, considerably more empirical focus has been devoted to starting (i.e. initiation) and ending (i.e. dissolution) relationships than on maintaining them. In this volume, internationally renowned scholars from a variety of disciplines describe diverse sets of relationship maintenance efforts in order to show why some relationships endure, whereas others falter. By focusing on 'what to do' rather than 'what not to do' in relationships, this book paints a more comprehensive picture of the forms, functions, and contexts of relationship maintenance. It is essential reading for scholars and students in psychology, communication, human development and family science, sociology, and couple/marriage and family therapy.
Article
Introduction: With the emergence of rapidly expanding access to sexually explicit materials, research concerning pornography prevalence, pornography content, pornography users, and pornography effects has increased steadily among scientists and clinicians. Findings in this research area are often inconsistent and controversial. Aim: The current discussion aims to assist scientists and clinicians to "read pornography-that is, pornography research-" from an appropriately rigorous scientific perspective, so that we may approach work in this area with a clearer understanding of the often contested evidence base and a clearer understanding of what science can, and cannot, tell us, at present, about pornography prevalence, content, users, and effects. Methods: Discussion focuses on the critical implications, for scientific validity and clinical application, of variations in research design, participant sampling, conceptual and operational definitions of "pornography" and "use," measurement of sexually violent content, and measurement of pornography use effects. Results: Failure to acknowledge the implications of research design limitations and heterogeneity of conceptual and operational definitions of pornography have resulted in an inconsistent and contested evidence base in this area. Clinical implications: Clinicians must rigorously evaluate the published literature concerning pornography, according to classical principles of scientific research, before clinical application of diverse and inconsistent research claims. Strength & limitations: This analysis brings to bear classic scientific considerations in attempting to strengthen critical reading and research contributions in the area of pornography prevalence, content, users, correlates, and effects. Many of the assertions and suggestions contained in this discussion await empirical verification. Conclusion: Rigorous application of basic scientific research principles should guide the evaluation and conduct of research concerning pornography prevalence, content, users, covariates, and effects. Fisher WA, Kohut T. Reading Pornography: Methodological Considerations in Evaluating Pornography Research. J Sex Med 2019;XX:XXX-XXX.
Chapter
The formation and functioning of close relationships can alter individuals’ self-concepts in such a manner that the self-concepts are cognitively linked with the partner; however, relationship dissolution directly threatens the loss of this intertwined self-concept. In this chapter, we first discuss the degree to which prior relationship-induced self-concept change predicts, and in some cases inoculates against, dissolution. Second, we discuss the extent to which relationship dissolution leads to subsequent self-concept changes within individuals (e.g., loss of self-concept content, increased self-concept confusion), as well as the mechanisms underlying whether these post-dissolution self-concept changes are deemed harmful versus beneficial. Third, we explain how individuals may recover from post-dissolution self-concept changes by seeking to repair or restore the damaged self-concept. Finally, we briefly identify avenues for future research that scholars may consider pursuing.
Chapter
When individuals enter into close relationships, they can experience a variety of changes to the self-concept; these changes are directly linked to and affected by their relational partners. This chapter first explores the theoretical underpinnings of relationship-induced self-concept change by describing three key complementary perspectives: cognitive interdependence, self-expansion, and the two-dimensional model of relational self-change. These perspectives identify how close relationships can alter the size, structure, and diversity of individuals’ self-concepts (e.g., through self-other integration). Second, we review the consequences of relationship-induced self-concept change (e.g., relationship quality, maintenance behaviors). Finally, the chapter explores the empirical measurement of relationship-induced self-concept change by overviewing various operational definitions and methodologies, ranging from self-report to open-ended responses to response latencies to symbolic representations of the self-concept.
Article
This paper investigates the relationship between the proportion of time husbands and wives spend in individual, joint, and parallel leisure activities and marital satisfaction over five marital career periods. A probability sample of upper-middle-class families in a moderate-sized Southeastern city yielded 216 husbands and 226 wives for the study. The results suggest that the three leisure activity patterns are differentially related to marital satisfaction, that husbands and wives are not influenced alike by leisure, and that the marital career period is a most critical variable in determining the influence of leisure.
Article
This paper examines factors associated with marital interaction, particularly work roles, marital structure, and marital happiness. Evidence from a nationwide probability sample of 2034 men and women suggests that heavy work involvement of husbands as well as wives, number of children, and a traditional division of household labor all reduce the proportion of time couples spend in joint activity. The determinants of interaction are found to differ significantly by racial/ethnic group. A major finding of this paper is the importance of marital happiness as a determinant of interaction. Using two-stage least-squares analysis, the paper examines the nonrecursive relationship between interaction and happiness and concludes that previous research has overestimated the effect of interaction on marital happiness.
Article
This article is a report of a preliminary study in the definition and measurement of marital conventionalization. Marital conventionalization is defined as the extent to which a person distorts the appraisal of his marriage in the direction of social desirability. Since the measurement of the variable is direct, the major focus is upon establishing content validity for a short scale of marital conventionalization. Since the results indicate that marital conventionalization is both extensive and intensive, it is necessary to control for its effect in any study of highly ego-involved areas, particularly the area of marital adjustment.
Article
The purpose of the present study was to examine marital partners' perceptions of the underlying similarities among the marital maintenance strategies initially reported by Dindia & Baxter (1987). The perceptual judgment sorts of ninety-one married persons were analyzed using individual differences multidimensional scaling, hierarchical cluster analysis and content analysis. Results indicated that husbands and wives sorted the maintenance strategies similarly. Three underlying dimensions organized the perceptual space: constructive/destructive communication styles, ambivalence-based versus satiation-based conditional use and proactivity/passivity. Six cluster neighborhoods were situated in the three-dimensional space: Last Resort Strategies, Satiation Strategies, Inward Withdrawal Strategies, Problem Avoidance Strategies, Destructive Strategies and Constructive Strategies. The findings differ substantially from the a priori classification typology employed by Dindia & Baxter (1987).
Article
Although relationship research has concentrated on relational formation and termination processes, most of the time spent in long-term relationships is devoted to relational maintenance and/or repair. The present study examines the maintenance/repair strategies reported by fifty couples (n= 100 spouses). It attempts to discover the strategies and the ways in which their number and choice are related to marital satisfaction, participation in a marital enrichment programme, length of marriage and respondent gender. Forty-nine strategies were identified and clustered into twelve superordinate strategy types. Respondents most frequently reported use of prosocial, ceremonial, communication and togetherness strategy types. More strategies were reported in accomplishing maintenance than repair of the relationship. However, the same types of strategies were reported for both maintenance and repair with the exceptions of metacommunication and anti-ritual/spontaneity strategies. The number of strategies correlated negatively with length of marriage. Implications for future research include the need for comparative work among premarital, marital and divorced couples. In addition, the need to develop understanding of such strategies for use in marital enrichment programmes is discussed.
Article
This study examines the amount of time dual-earner couples spend together by analyzing time diaries (N = 177) from the 1981 Study of Time Use. We find that time together is substantially reduced by the number of hours couples work (combined) and how they schedule these hours. Sociocultural and life-cycle factors appear to have very limited net effects on time spent together. There is a theoretically predictable relationship between marital quality and time couples spend together: the more time together in certain activities, the more satisfactory the marriage. As the number of dual-earner families increases, more spouses may be less able to sustain each other emotionally.
Article
This study reports on the development of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale, a new measure for assessing the quality of marriage and other similar dyads. The 32 item scale is designed for use with either married or unmarried cohabiting couples. Despite widespread criticisms of the concept of adjustment, the study proceeds from the pragmatic position that a new measure, which is theoretically grounded, relevant, valid, and highly reliable, is necessary since marital and dyadic adjustment continue to be researched. This factor analytic study tests a conceptual definition set forth in earlier work and suggests the existence of four empirically verified components of dyadic adjustment which can be used as subscales [dyadic satisfaction, dyadic cohesion, dyadic consensus and affectional expression]. Evidence is presented suggesting content, criterion related, and construct validity. High scale reliability is reported. The possibility of item weighting is considered and endorsed as a potential measurement technique, but it is not adopted for the present Dyadic Adjustment Scale. It is concluded that the Dyadic Adjustment Scale represents a significant improvement over other measures of marital adjustment, but a number of troublesome methodological issues remain for future research.
Article
This paper examines the relationship between the extent of shared participation of husbands and wives in leisure activities and the extent of communication and task sharing in the marriage. Because marriage is an interactional system and leisure activities vary in their interactional requirements, a theory is proposed linking leisure activity patterns to marital interaction. The hypotheses generated by the theory were tested on a random sample of 223 husbands and 228 wives. The results indicate that interaction in leisure activities is related to interaction in marriage but that this relationship varies over the marital career. Also, it was found that the hypothesized relationship was greater when openness of communication was used as the marital interaction indicator compared to household task sharing. The theory is then reformulated in light of the data analysis.
Article
The cognitive significance of being in a close relationship is described in terms of including other in the self (in K. Lewin's [1948] sense of overlapping regions of the life space and in W. James [1890/1948] sense of the self as resources, perspectives, and characteristics). Exp 1 (with 24 college students), adapting W. B. Liebrand's (see record 1985-20117-001) decomposed-game procedures, found less self/other difference in allocations of money to a friend than to a stranger, regardless of whether Ss expected other to know their allocations. Exp 2 (with 20 female undergraduates), adapting C. G. Lord's (see record 1988-00331-001) procedures, found that Ss recalled fewer nouns previously imaged with self or mother than nouns imaged with a nonclose other, suggesting that mother was processed more like self than a stranger. Exp 3 (with 17 married graduate students), adapting self-schema, reaction-time (RT) procedures (e.g., H. Markus; see record 1977-27587-001) found longer latencies when making "me/not me" decisions for traits that were different between self and spouse versus traits that were similar for both, suggesting a self/other confusion with spouse. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
In 2 studies, the Inclusion of Other in the Self (IOS) Scale, a single-item, pictorial measure of closeness, demonstrated alternate-form and test–retest reliability; convergent validity with the Relationship Closeness Inventory (E. Berscheid et al, 1989), the R. J. Sternberg (1988) Intimacy Scale, and other measures; discriminant validity; minimal social desirability correlations; and predictive validity for whether romantic relationships were intact 3 mo later. Also identified and cross-validated were (1) a 2-factor closeness model (Feeling Close and Behaving Close) and (2) longevity–closeness correlations that were small for women vs moderately positive for men. Five supplementary studies showed convergent and construct validity with marital satisfaction and commitment and with a reaction-time (RT)-based cognitive measure of closeness in married couples; and with intimacy and attraction measures in stranger dyads following laboratory closeness-generating tasks. In 3 final studies most Ss interpreted IOS Scale diagrams as depicting interconnectedness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The Pleasant Events Schedule is a behavioral self-report inventory of potentially reinforcing events. The test–retest method, involving 181 Ss of various ages and social classes, demonstrated good to excellent stability for the 8 most used scales of the schedule across periods of 1, 2, and 3 mo. Concurrent validity was assessed by comparison with peer and observer ratings. Predictive validity of the test's frequency ratings was studied in relation to subsequent self-monitoring data, while predictive validity of test enjoyability ratings was determined by comparison with subsequent choice behavior. Construct validity was inferred from the results of other research. Adequate validity of all types was found. Scale intercorrelations are also reported, and the question of response bias is addressed. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
We use LISREL to assess the measurement properties of a unidimensional indicator of subjective marital solidarity based on four questionnaire items. A rigorously assessed measure containing more than one, yet relatively few items, is solely needed for research on marriage; such a measure can combine high reliability with low cost. Using 1971 and 1978 waves of the Quality of American Life data, we evaluate a measure based on four items: how well the respondent thinks his or her spouse understands him or her, how well the respondent understands his or her spouse, the amount of time spouses spend together in companionate activities, and reported marital satisfaction. With one correlated error term, these items are found to be a unidimensional indicator and to show substantial invariance across gender, survey year, and life cycle stage. We rejected inclusion of an item on how much the couple agrees on finances because this item created invariance by gender and survey year. This item apparently changed its meaning during the 1970s when many women became wage earners.
Article
This paper is concerned with the development of a theoretical model of the structure of marriage happiness that may be useful for diagnosis, analysis, and prediction. An over-all model, composed of a dimension of satisfactions and a dimension of tensions which function independently to produce happiness in marriage, is suggested. The independent dimensions correlate in the expected directions with an individual's own assessment of his marriage, but do not correlate with each other. These characteristics suggest that the difference between an individual's scores on the satisfactions and tensions indexes, called the "Marriage Adjustment Balance Scale" (MABS), is a good over-all indicator of an individual's happiness in marriage. Marriage happiness self-ratings and the MABS were found to be positively related to over-all happiness ratings. Each of the marriage happiness indexes is also related to over-all happiness in the expected direction. Finally, marriage happiness is related to over-all happiness through both positive and negative affect, so that there appears to be a perfect meshing between the two-dimensional structure of marriage happiness and the two-dimensional structure of psychological well-being.