When Caring about Me Is Caring about You: Interpersonal Goals as Manifestations of Self-Determination in Romantic Relationships
Hadden, Benjamin W 1988-
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Research has examined the role of self-determination in relationships has focused solely on the self, and has ignored how relationship autonomy relates to increased focus on one’s partner. Recent work on interpersonal goals may provide insight into the dyadic nature of relationship autonomy. The present research explored the link between these two theoretical concepts in order to explain the nature of self-determination in relationships. I examined how relationship autonomy is associated with desire to support one’s partner as well as reduction in self-focus. The study had 99 undergraduates report on their relationship autonomy and interpersonal goals. Participants kept a record of their experiences in their relationships over the course of 14 days. The results revealed that relationship autonomy was associated with higher compassionate goals, lower self-image goals, and better relationship quality (e.g., satisfaction, support, and response to conflict). However, evidence for a mediational link with interpersonal goals was less consistent.