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Expectations for future relationship satisfaction

Title: Expectations for future relationship satisfaction: Unique sources and critical implications for commitment.
Name(s): Baker, Levi R, author
McNulty, James K, author
VanderDrift, Laura E, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Journal Article
Date Issued: 2017-05-01
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Contemporary perspectives on relationship commitment posit that intimates decide whether or not to maintain a relationship based on their commitment to that relationship, and that they base such commitment partially on their current satisfaction with that relationship. Nevertheless, given that ending a relationship requires knowing about both the current state of the relationship and the likely future state of the relationship, we propose that people base their commitment to a relationship more on their expected future satisfaction with the relationship than on their current satisfaction with that relationship. Six studies provided evidence for these ideas. Study 1 demonstrated that expected satisfaction is shaped by not only current satisfaction but also several unique indicators of the likelihood of future satisfaction, including anticipated life events, plans to improve the relationship, and individual differences. Then, using a combination of cross-sectional, experimental, and longitudinal methods, Studies 2 through 6 demonstrated that (a) expected satisfaction was a stronger predictor of relationship commitment, maintenance behaviors, and/or divorce than was current satisfaction and (b) expected satisfaction mediated the association between current satisfaction and these outcomes. These findings highlight not only the need to incorporate expected satisfaction into extent perspectives on commitment, but also the importance of expectations for decision-making processes more broadly. (PsycINFO Database Record
Identifier: FSU_pmch_28368196 (IID), 10.1037/xge0000299 (DOI), PMC5411291 (PMCID), 28368196 (RID), 28368196 (EID), 2017-14899-001 (PII)
Grant Number: R03 HD058314
Publication Note: This NIH-funded author manuscript originally appeared in PubMed Central at
Subject(s): Adult
Cross-Sectional Studies
Interpersonal Relations
Middle Aged
Personal Satisfaction
Sexual Partners/psychology
Young Adult
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Journal of experimental psychology. General.
Issue: iss. 5, vol. 146

Choose the citation style.
Baker, L. R., McNulty, J. K., & VanderDrift, L. E. (2017). Expectations for future relationship satisfaction: Unique sources and critical implications for commitment. Journal Of Experimental Psychology. General. Retrieved from