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15 Feb 2011
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Lecture 4: Romantic Commitment and Stability
Relationship commitment
The intention to persist with a relationship (could be positive or negative depending on the
context)
Best psychological predictor of whether a relationship will ultimately last
Investment model
According to this model, commitment has THREE key components
A)Satisfaction: are you happy?
B)Investment: resources place into the relationship
C)Quality of alternatives: other options
Types of investments
Tangible (material such as joint account, shared pets) vs. intangible (emotional/identity)
Past vs. future
Past intangible, future intangible, and future tangible investments all INDEPENDTLY
PREDICT commitment
Alternative and narcissism
Narcissists have characteristically lower commitment levels
Relationship is mediated by high quality of alternatives
Barriers to relationship dissolution
Commitment ONLY becomes problematic when the quality of the relationship is LOW
Possible reasons that people cannot leave unsatisfying relationships
oHaving high investment
oLow quality of alternatives
Investments and cohabitation
Cohabitation BEFORE marriage has problems
oLess marital satisfaction
oMore marital violence
oHigher risk of divorce
BUT this applies ONLY to those who cohabit BEFORE ENGAGED (COMMITTED)
oRelationship inertia
Using cohabitation as a “test assumes NO increased barriers to leaving
BUT, it actually increases the barriers to leaving (increased investment without
increasing satisfaction)
ALSO, it puts people at risk of “sliding” into marriage: people who otherwise
wouldnt have gotten married
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Document Summary

Relationship commitment: the intention to persist with a relationship (could be positive or negative depending on the context, best psychological predictor of whether a relationship will ultimately last. Investment model: according to this model, commitment has three key components, satisfaction: are you happy, investment: resources place into the relationship, quality of alternatives: other options. Types of investments: tangible (material such as joint account, shared pets) vs. intangible (emotional/identity, past vs. future, past intangible, future intangible, and future tangible investments all independtly. Alternative and narcissism: narcissists have characteristically lower commitment levels, relationship is mediated by high quality of alternatives. Barriers to relationship dissolution: commitment only becomes problematic when the quality of the relationship is low, possible reasons that people cannot leave unsatisfying relationships, having high investment, low quality of alternatives. Investments and cohabitation: cohabitation before marriage has problems, less marital satisfaction, more marital violence, higher risk of divorce, but this applies only to those who cohabit before engaged (committed, relationship inertia.

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