A dyadic test of the association between trait self-control and romantic relationship satisfaction
Number of pages
SourceFrontiers in Psychology, 11, (2020), article 594476
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI SCP
SW OZ BSI ON
Frontiers in Psychology
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being; Social Development
Previous research has demonstrated that trait self-control is related to a range of positive romantic relationship processes, suggesting that trait self-control should be positively and robustly linked to relationship satisfaction in both partners in a romantic relationship. However, the existing empirical evidence is limited and mixed, especially regarding partner effects (i.e., the effect of one’s self-control on the partner's relationship satisfaction). With three datasets of heterosexual couples (S1: N = 195 newlyweds, longitudinal; S2: N = 249 couples who transition into first parenthood, longitudinal; S3: N = 929 couples, cross-sectional), the present pre-registered studies examined: (1) the dyadic associations between trait self-control and relationship satisfaction both cross-sectionally and longitudinally, and (2) whether these effects hold when controlling for both partners’ relationship commitment. The results indicated a cross-sectional positive actor effect, some support for a positive cross-sectional partner effect, and only little support for a longitudinal actor (but not partner) effect. After controlling for relationship commitment, all effects of trait self-control on satisfaction diminished except for a longitudinal actor effect among women in Study 2. Potential explanations for the current results, and implications for theory and practice, are discussed.
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