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Associations between sense of purpose and romantic relationship quality in adulthood


Pfund, Gabrielle N; Brazeau, Hannah; Allemand, Mathias; Hill, Patrick L (2020). Associations between sense of purpose and romantic relationship quality in adulthood. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 37(5):1563-1580.

Abstract

The current studies investigated the extent that sense of purpose is associated with desirable relationship variables, such as relationship satisfaction, relationship commitment, perceived quality of alternatives, and investment size. Data were collected from two online surveys of 1,001 and 1,594 participants in relationships (Study 1: M = 46.68, SD = 15.77, range = 18–86; Study 2: M = 52.52, SD = 16.05, range = 18–91). Study 1 found that sense of purpose was positively associated with relationship satisfaction, commitment, and negatively associated with the perception that one’s partner was preferable to alternatives. When controlling for affective well-being and the Big Five personality traits, sense of purpose was still associated with relationship commitment and the perception that one’s partner was preferable to alternatives. Study 2 found that sense of purpose was positively associated with relationship satisfaction, commitment, and investment size (which was exclusively assessed in Study 2), but it was not significantly associated with perceived quality of alternatives. These associations held when controlling for affective well-being and the Big Five personality traits. Across both studies, age did not consistently moderate the associations between sense of purpose and relationship satisfaction, commitment, and perceived quality of alternatives. These studies suggest that sense of purpose and aspects of relationship quality are positively associated across adulthood. Findings are discussed with respect to how purpose may be considered in future close relationship research.

Abstract

The current studies investigated the extent that sense of purpose is associated with desirable relationship variables, such as relationship satisfaction, relationship commitment, perceived quality of alternatives, and investment size. Data were collected from two online surveys of 1,001 and 1,594 participants in relationships (Study 1: M = 46.68, SD = 15.77, range = 18–86; Study 2: M = 52.52, SD = 16.05, range = 18–91). Study 1 found that sense of purpose was positively associated with relationship satisfaction, commitment, and negatively associated with the perception that one’s partner was preferable to alternatives. When controlling for affective well-being and the Big Five personality traits, sense of purpose was still associated with relationship commitment and the perception that one’s partner was preferable to alternatives. Study 2 found that sense of purpose was positively associated with relationship satisfaction, commitment, and investment size (which was exclusively assessed in Study 2), but it was not significantly associated with perceived quality of alternatives. These associations held when controlling for affective well-being and the Big Five personality traits. Across both studies, age did not consistently moderate the associations between sense of purpose and relationship satisfaction, commitment, and perceived quality of alternatives. These studies suggest that sense of purpose and aspects of relationship quality are positively associated across adulthood. Findings are discussed with respect to how purpose may be considered in future close relationship research.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sociology and Political Science, Communication, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Social Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 May 2020
Deposited On:28 Jan 2021 10:10
Last Modified:29 Jan 2021 21:01
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0265-4075
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407520903807

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