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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Stephanie S. Spielmann

Abstract

Dissatisfaction in romantic relationships is a pervasive problem in our society. One avenue for understanding dissatisfaction is to apply theories of goal pursuit to romantic relationships. The present research applied theoretical advances put forward by Goal Systems Theory to conceptualize romantic partners as multifinal means to romantic goals. Multifinal means are means that fulfill multiple goals simultaneously; thus, romantic partners are conceptualized as fulfilling multiple romantic goals simultaneously. This conceptualization was used to investigate how dissimilarity between expected and perceived fulfillment of romantic goals, measured through goal listing tasks, was associated with relationship satisfaction, dissolution consideration, and perceptions of alternative partners. It was found that greater dissimilarity between expected and perceived goal fulfillment was associated with lesser relationship satisfaction, greater dissolution consideration, and more positive perceptions of alternative partners. These findings suggest that relationship outcomes may be the result of evaluating one's partner as a multifinal means to romantic goals.

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