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Lecture 14

PSYC 215 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Meta-Analysis, Gie, Alteratie

Course Code
PSYC 215
Mark Baldwin

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PSYC 215 lecture 14 (2016/10/25)
Commitment and Relationship Maintenance
Interpersonal relationships
Fundamental need to belong
Maintaining harmonious relationships leads to
o Better mental and physical health
o Greater meaning in life
Q: Why do some relationships persist?
Q: What helps individuals maintain their relationships?
Ppl have a motivation to maintain a relationship
We can ask questions such as: how long would you want your relationship to last (1=week, 9=lifetime)
To what extent are you committed to maintain the relationship (1=extremely, 9=not at all)
What makes someone committed to a relationship?
The Investment Model
Rusbult, 1980-83
1. Satisfaction
o Your subjective evaluation of the relationship is it good? Are you happy? How positive is it?
o You can calculate this based on the rewards (feeling accepted, having fun with your partner)
o Based on costs (arguments, conflicts)
o Then we need to compare what we think we have with our standards and ideals that we believe are
good for our relationship = comparison level
This is also based on past experiences and past relationships
Note that you may also base your standards on what you see around you (hanging out with
other ouples, our parets’ relatioship ad ou a also take experiences from all different
types of relationships to form your comparison level
Satisfaction = rewards costs comparison level
o Ie. Who is more satisfied? Sheldon or Leonard? (BBT)
o Just looking at rewards and costs is not enough, it is imperative that we consider the comparison level
2. Quality of alternatives
o Do you perceive better alternatives to your current relationship?
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o What are the anticipated rewards ad costs from the alternative?
o Comparison level = available alternatives (CLalt) how does your relationship compare to the
A lower the quality of alternatives leads to you feeling more satisfied in your relationship
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could be considered an alternative and if you prefer to spend time with the other person vs
being alone, this is also a reinforcing factor in your decision to be with them
3. Investments
o Intrinsic time, emotional effort
o Extrinsic mutual friends, shared material possessions (all sorts of things that happen because of being
in the relationship and if the relationship would end, you would lose these things)
o Investments increase the cost of the relationship
Commitment = satisfaction alternatives + investment
Highly committed individuals are likely to report: high satisfaction, low alternatives and high investment
Commitment predicts relationship persistence
Biu et a,l 1996 commitment predicted relationship survival 15 years later
Le & Agnew, 2003 they did a meta-analysis of 12 studies with 1720 ppts, found that there is a correlation
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What is the importance of relationship satisfaction?
Rubult & Martz, 1995
Remaining in an abuse relationship
Ppts: women who sought shelter in a refuge
DV: stay or leave behaviour upon leaving the shelter
Results: higher investments and lower quality of alternatives were associated with a greater likelihood to return
immediately to the partner on leaving the shelter
However, satisfaction did not predict stay/leave behaviour
The investment was so high because the women were of low SES and they somehow needed the relationship to
How is my commitment right now contributing to the stability of my relationship 5 or 10 years later?
Our commitment is likely to affect how we construe events in our relationship and it could also influence how
we think about our relationship
Agnew et al., 1997
Used an open-ended, spontaneous thought-listing procedure get ppl to talk about their relationship
Counted the number of plural thoughts are ppl in a committed relationship more likely to think in terms of
being on a team? How do they categorise the relationship?
Commitment was positively associated with number of plural thoughts
Our commitment is likely to influence how we think about our relationship
Relationship superiority
My relationship is better than and not as bad ad yours is
Belief that my relationship is more positive (and not as negative) than other relationships
Is this a motivated phenomenon?
find more resources at
find more resources at
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