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Lecture 6

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Lecture 6: Relational Insecurities I. Self-esteem  LSEs fear rejection  naïve realism, unwarranted insecurity (Murray et al., 1996), not related to objective features  LSE related to lower satisfaction and stability feel unvalued by partner, leads to withholding emotional investment (e.g., valuing partner) to protect against rejection People with lower self-esteem feel unvalued and unwarranted insecurity, withdraw from partner, withhold emotional investment, fear rejection  lower satisfaction and stability Dependency regulation theory (Sandra Murray & John Holmes)  when threatened, LSEs favour self-protection over connection in their relationships self-protect by withdrawing from partner  E.g., Murray, Holmes, MacDonald, & Ellsworth (1998) threatened LSEs’ and HSEs’ by inducing self-doubt assessed confidence in a partner’s positive regard and perceptions of the partner LSEs reacted to self-doubt with heightened doubts about their partner’s regard, which then tarnished impressions of their partners HSEs reacted to self-doubt by becoming more convinced of their partner’s continued acceptance, using their relationships as a resource for self-affirmation Put doubts into mind about their partner and those with LSE responded with more doubts about their partner, more negative impressions about their partner  HSE responded with more convinced arguments about partner’s affections for you (increase vs decrease emotional investment) Acceptance is in the eye of the beholder (Cameron et al., 2010)  favouring self-protection over connection can lead to misreading acceptance cues  Study 1: LSEs perceive fewer acceptance cues than HSEs  watched video of confederate manipulated to depict high acceptance or low acceptance, rated perceived acceptance from the confederate  LSEs perceived less acceptance from confederate than HSEs in both conditions  Study 2: due to motivation, not ability  similar to Study 1, but told video was directed at them or someone else, rated frequency of acceptance behaviours in self condition, LSEs perceived fewer acceptance cues than HSEs in observer condition, LSEs perceived more acceptance cues than HSEs (more than LSEs in self ) Watch video that was manipulated with acceptance cues and LSEs perceived fewer acceptance cues than HSEs  second study (with observer and self conditions) found it was due to motivation, not ability (can perceive them but they don’t have the confidence to find these cues – find them only when situation isn’t threatening to themselves) Easing LSE rejection fears? Putting the partner within reach (Murray et al., 2005)  LSEs feel inferior to their partner  undermines felt security  LSEs reported greater felt security with partner, and greater closeness and commitment, if induced to perceive: New strengths in the self  e.g., false feedback regarding personality Faults in the partner  e.g., inconsiderate partner, poor behaviour during conflict  positive feedback?  LSEs responded to negative and positive feedback with less felt security and relationship value (Murray et al., 1998) AND HSEs responded by increasing felt security and value  framing compliments at an abstract rather than specific level leads LSEs to feel more valued (Marigold et al., 2007) LSEs feel inferior to partner but can feel greater security with partner if they find faults in partner and strengths in self  Feel more secure when partner gives positive feedback II. Relationship-contingent self-esteem (Knee, Canevello, Bush, & Cook, 2008)  an unhealthy form of self-esteem that depends on one’s relationship e.g., “When my relationship is going well, I feel better about myself overall;” “I feel better about myself when others tell me that my partner and I have a good relationship”  for those with RCSE, changes in self-esteem due to relationship events mediated by emotions  both members of couples completed RCSE, commitment, and satisfaction if both partners were higher in RCSE, felt more committed but not more satisfied less commitment if one’s partner was higher in RCSE but they were not This self-esteem relies on the relationship, depends on how things with partner are goi
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