Executive control and relationship maintenance processes: An empirical overview and theoretical integration
Number of pages
SourceSocial and Personality Psychology Compass, 9, 7, (2015), pp. 333-347
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
Social and Personality Psychology Compass
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being
Why do romantic partners sometimes act in ways that potentially threaten relationship satisfaction and stability, even when strongly committed to the relationship? This article discusses research that has addressed this question by examining the role of executive control. We argue that executive control plays a particularly important role in relationship functioning when partners are faced with dilemmas between acting on self-interest and acting on partner or relationship interest. We review the key findings in this domain, demonstrating that individual differences in executive control are positively associated with sacrifice, forgiveness, and the ability to resist the temptation of attractive alternatives. We conclude with proposing a theoretical model that integrates the role of motivation and capacity factors in promoting pro-relationship responses and discuss promising areas for future research.
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