Goals as content-specific standards for evaluation of romantic commitment

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2013-08

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Abstract

This thesis examines the association between the role that an individual’s partner and relationship alternatives play in his or her goal pursuits and the individual’s commitment to his or her relationship. Individual’s preference for others that aid in the achievement of his or her goals has been theoretically and empirically established (Fitzsimons & Shah, 2008). This thesis extends that work by examining the relation between multiple interpersonal dimensions of an individual’s goal pursuits and his or her romantic commitment. Rusbult’s (1980) investment model was used as a framework to develop a questionnaire that examined the degree to which an individual believed his or her partner facilitated, impeded, shared, and valued his or her goals, as well as whether the individual could accomplish the goal without his or her partner or if anyone other than his or her partner could help him or her to achieve the goal. It was hypothesized that individuals who believe that their partner facilitates and shares their goals, and that their alternative partners do not facilitate their goals, will be more committed to their relationship. These hypotheses were tested with a survey that asked participants to list three of their personal goals and rate each of them on the six interpersonal goal dimensions, as well as complete measures of relationship satisfaction, investment, alternatives, and commitment. Participants were recruited and responded to the survey through the Amazon.com Mechanical Turk marketplace. The final sample included 475 individuals that were involved in a romantic relationship at the time survey. Two structural equation models were constructed to analyze the data. Primary findings show significant associations between several of the interpersonal goal dimensions and the constructs of the investment model. Results are addressed in the context of the relevant literature, with relationship evaluation serving as the suggested mechanism. Implications and future directions are then discussed.

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