Regulation within an intimate relationship context: Initiation and response strategies utilised in self, partner and relationship regulation.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMasters of Arts (Hons)
The Ideal Standards Model (Simpson, Fletcher and Campbell, 2001) suggests that individuals regulate themselves and their partners based on how closely their perceptions match their ideal standards. Overall, Fletcher and Simpson (2006) provided empirical support for the regulatory function of the Ideal Standards Model and concluded that standards which may initiate regulation reflect three pivotal domains; warmth/trustworthiness, attractiveness/vitality and status/resources. In Study 1, 150 individuals (in heterosexual relationships or had been in the previous six months) spontaneously reported prior regulatory attempts that had focused on changing themselves, their partner or their relationship. Participants then described their most salient regulatory attempt in detail and rated the success of this attempt. In Study 2, 96 individuals (in heterosexual relationships) self-rated various personality and relationship characteristics. Participants also indicated how they would likely respond (using a set of likert scales) to partner initiated regulation attempts which were provided via vignette descriptions. As predicted, results indicated (a) that regulatory attempts reflect the pivotal domains of the Ideal Standards Model, (b) predicted gender differences in the use of regulation, (c) increased regulatory success with the use of interpersonal strategies and (d) increased relationship quality with less negative reactions to regulatory attempts. Results also indicated that women were more likely to respond negatively than men, particularly when the regulation attempt focused on their attractiveness. Implication and explanations are discussed.