Opposites Fit: Regulatory Focus Complementarity and Relationship Well-Being

Social Cognition, Forthcoming

Posted: 26 Mar 2012

Date Written: March, 26 2012

Abstract

Two studies of romantic couples examined the circumstances under which complementary goal-pursuit strategies (specifically, the pairing of a relationship partner who prefers to pursue goals eagerly with a relationship partner who prefers to pursue goals vigilantly) lead to positive relationship outcomes. As hypothesized, couples who reported higher levels of goal congruence (Study 1) or greater self-other overlap (Study 2) benefited from complementary regulatory focus orientations. We suggest that such benefits stem from the advantages provided by the availability of both eager and vigilant strategic preferences, which allow complementary couples to “divide and conquer” goal pursuits as a unit so that both relationship partners can take on their preferred eager or vigilant strategic role. We further suggest that goal congruence is necessary to capitalize on these proposed advantages of complementary eager or vigilant goal-pursuit strategies.

Keywords: close relationships, complementarity, coordination, regulatory focus, self-regulation

Suggested Citation

Bohns, Vanessa K., Opposites Fit: Regulatory Focus Complementarity and Relationship Well-Being (March, 26 2012). Social Cognition, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2029345

Vanessa K. Bohns (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

394 Ives Faculty Bldg
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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