Bias and accuracy in intimate relationships : are people with low self-esteem adrift from relationship reality? (2003)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
Research by S.L. Murray and colleagues (e.g., Murray, Holmes, MacDonald, & Ellsworth, 1998) on why people with low self-esteem have poor quality intimate relationships was replicated and extended in two studies. In Study 1, bias and accuracy in partner judgements was investigated, including whether bias and accuracy are related to depression. In Study 2, self-perceptions were manipulated and the effect on reflected appraisals and partner perceptions was examined. These two studies extend Murray et al.’s research in three main ways. First, a careful distinction was made between bias and accuracy, and each construct measured separately. Second, three categories of perceptions were measured which are centrally important in intimate relationships (Warmth/Loyalty, Vitality/Attractiveness, and Status/Resources) (Fletcher, Simpson, Thomas, & Giles, 1999). Third, whether Murray et al.'s Dependency Regulation Model operates in a domain-specific or global fashion was investigated.
As predicted, participants were positively biased but relatively accurate in judging their partners (Study 1). In Study 2, as predicted, people with low self-esteem (but not those with high self-esteem) reported less positive self-perceptions and reflected appraisals when their self-perceptions were threatened than when they were boosted. This effect occurred in the threatened domain only, as predicted. However, against predictions, people with low self-esteem did not alter their partner perceptions more than those with high self-esteem.
KeywordsIntimacy (Psychology); Social perception; Prejudices; Self-perception; Self-esteem; Depression, Mental
RightsAll Rights Reserved
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