To satisfy felt security goals in a specific relationship, people need to believe that their partner sees qualities in them that merit attention, nurturance, and care. However, people troubled by dispositional insecurities, such as low self-esteem or attachment-related anxiety, underestimate how positively their partner sees them on specific traits and even underestimate how much their partner loves them. This proposal examines how the resulting activation of felt security needs affects newlyweds' capacity to engage in the affective, cognitive, and behavioral regulation strategies critical for continued marital satisfaction. First, the proposal examines how feeling more or less positively regarded affects people's day-to-day threshold for perceiving signs of acceptance or rejection in specific events (appraisal sensitivity), how day-to-day concerns about rejection affect people's self-esteem (self-esteem sensitivity), and how feeling more or less positively regarded affects the behavioral strategies (i.e., interdependence and accommodation regulation) people adopt to alleviate the sting of rejection on a day-to-day basis. Second, the proposal examines how and why these within-person signatures or response profiles change over time, and how they relate to long-term changes in people's impressions of themselves and others, and to the long-term well-being of their marriage. A longitudinal daily diary study of newlywed couples is planned. Both members of the couple will complete 14-day electronic diaries and relationship-functioning assessments for 4 consecutive years. The daily diaries will be designed to provide within-person measures of how much rejection is read into events, within person measures of how much perceived rejections threaten self-esteem, and within-person measures of how each person responds behaviorally to feeling rejected. These micro-process indices will then be used to predict the relationship trajectories couples take, toward increasing, stable, or decreasing individual and relationship well-being. Apart from shedding light on the dynamics of attachment and interdependence regulation, this research might also facilitate the development of clinical interventions, such as fostering insight into a partner's positive regard and unconditional acceptance that might circumvent harmful interaction patterns.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-2 (02))
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Kozak, Michael J
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State University of New York at Buffalo
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Murray, Sandra L; Holmes, John G; Griffin, Dale W et al. (2015) The equilibrium model of relationship maintenance. J Pers Soc Psychol 108:93-113
Murray, Sandra L; Holmes, John G; Derrick, Jaye L et al. (2013) Cautious to a Fault: Self-Protection and the Trajectory of Marital Satisfaction. J Exp Soc Psychol 49:522-533
Cavallo, Justin V; Holmes, John G; Fitzsimons, Grainne M et al. (2012) Managing motivational conflict: how self-esteem and executive resources influence self-regulatory responses to risk. J Pers Soc Psychol 103:430-51
Murray, Sandra L; Pinkus, Rebecca T; Holmes, John G et al. (2011) Signaling when (and when not) to be cautious and self-protective: impulsive and reflective trust in close relationships. J Pers Soc Psychol 101:485-502
Murray, Sandra L; Griffin, Dale W; Derrick, Jaye L et al. (2011) Tempting fate or inviting happiness?: unrealistic idealization prevents the decline of marital satisfaction. Psychol Sci 22:619-26
Murray, Sandra L; Holmes, John G; Pinkus, Rebecca T (2010) A Smart Unconscious? Procedural Origins of Automatic Partner Attitudes in Marriage. J Exp Soc Psychol 46:650-656
Murray, Sandra L; Holmes, John G; Aloni, Maya et al. (2009) Commitment insurance: compensating for the autonomy costs of interdependence in close relationships. J Pers Soc Psychol 97:256-78
Murray, Sandra L; Holmes, John G (2009) The architecture of interdependent minds: A Motivation-management theory of mutual responsiveness. Psychol Rev 116:908-28
Murray, Sandra L; Aloni, Maya; Holmes, John G et al. (2009) Fostering partner dependence as trust insurance: the implicit contingencies of the exchange script in close relationships. J Pers Soc Psychol 96:324-48
Murray, Sandra L; Leder, Sadie; McClellan, Jennifer C D et al. (2009) Becoming Irreplaceable: How Comparisons to the Partner's Alternatives Differentially Affect Low and High Self-Esteem People. J Exp Soc Psychol 45:1180-1191

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