Behavioral and Brain Sciences2013-09-05 2:57 AM

Loving Freedom: Concerns with Promotion or Prevention and the Role of Autonomy in Relationship Well-being

Abstract Close relationships fulfill many important needs. However, not all of these needs are equally salient under all circumstances. This article investigated how the broad motivational context in which people evaluate relationships affects the salience of particular needs, thereby altering how the fulfillment of these needs predicts relationship well-being. Across 5 studies, participants reported how well their current romantic relationship met their needs for self-direction and autonomy, either by providing support for the fulfillment of these needs (Studies 1–3) or by allowing them to feel that they autonomously choose to remain in the relationship (Studies 4 and 5). In motivational contexts emphasizing personal growth and advancement (promotion), one’s own independent priorities could become more salient, increasing the relevance of autonomy experiences when evaluating relationship well-being. However, in motivational contexts emphasizing safety and security (prevention), autonomy experiences might not be especially salient and thus might not have any special relevance when evaluating relationship well-being. Both measurements and manipulations of participants’ motivations for growth or security consistently supported these hypotheses. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Behavioral and Brain Sciences is a peer-reviewed scientific journal of Open Peer Commentary established in 1978 by Stevan Harnad and published by Cambridge University Press. It is modeled on the journal Current Anthropology (which was established in 1959 by the University of Chicago anthropologist, Sol Tax).

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