AuthorTotenhagen, Casey J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMy goal was to examine how experiences and behaviors of individuals and their romantic partners impact relationships on a daily basis. I conducted three separate but empirically and conceptually related studies. For all three papers, the sample was both members of heterosexual romantic relationships (N = 164 couples, 328 individuals) who completed measures each day for seven days. The papers were informed by tenets from interdependence theory and the conservation of resources model. The main purpose of the first paper was to examine a set of relational constructs (i.e., satisfaction, commitment, closeness, conflict, ambivalence, maintenance, and love) to determine which constructs fluctuated daily. All seven relational constructs showed significant within-person variability and were thus appropriate for further daily investigation. With this information, the next step was to understand how to foster positive relationships by examining what daily experiences were associated with those fluctuations. In the second paper I examined whether daily hassles and uplifts were associated with same-day and next-day feelings about the relationship. For same-day effects, I found that hassles were associated with decreased positivity and increased negativity about relationships, whereas uplifts were largely associated with increased positivity. I also found interactions between hassles and uplifts, suggestive of "blunting" effects whereby the positive effects of uplifts were nullified by high levels of hassles. For the next-day effects, I unexpectedly found that uplifts were associated with decreased positive relational constructs on the next day, possibly indicating a return to homeostatic levels. In the third paper, I moved to a more explicit examination of dyadic processes by examining both actor and partner effects and focusing on the role of relational sacrifices, or the daily changes individuals make for the sake of their romantic parnters. I expected that sacrifices would be beneficial for positive relationship quality, particularly on days characterized by low (versus high) hassles. I found support for these expectations with regards to actor, but not partner effects. Overall implications are that the everyday things that individuals experience (e.g., hassles and uplifts) and enact (e.g., sacrifices) are important considerations in fostering less negative and more positive romantic relationships.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Family & Consumer Sciences