Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS); Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Date Information

May 2016

Department

Childhood Education and Care; Psychology

First Advisor

Darlene Crone-Todd

Abstract

Relationships are a top priority for many people, perhaps because relationships fulfill an important human need: love. Relationships tend to be complex and have many predictors related to whether or not a relationship will be satisfying. It is important that one evaluates how satisfied he/she is with the relationship in order to decide whether to continue. If one learns early in the relationship that they are not satisfied, then they can terminate the relationship before it continues too long. Relationship satisfaction was examined in terms of positive and aversive behaviors commonly demonstrated in relationships. The positive behaviors analyzed included support/praise, affection, security, and communication, while the aversive behavior categories included exclusion, deceit, avoidant behaviors, undesirable actions, and potential competitors. A survey was administered through surveymonkey, in which participants completed demographic information, a pre-survey rating of their overall level of relationship satisfaction, questions regarding the frequency of certain behaviors, and a post-survey rating on their level of relationship satisfaction. When analyzing the pre and post survey responses, participants were more satisfied with their relationship after completing the questionnaire. Regarding the pre-survey satisfaction rating, a stepwise regression procedure indicated exclusion and support/praise as having the most significance in a relationship, where as the post satisfaction rating was most closely associated with exclusion, support/praise, deceit, and potential competitors. Therefore, the clearest correlations appear to be exclusion, deceit, support/praise, and potential competitors. Another finding is that filling out the survey changed both the satisfaction level and the predictor variables. It is likely that the behavioral categories tend to produce satisfying relationships because both people in the relationship are experiencing both generic and idiosyncratic reinforcement from the significant other. Also, participants' satisfaction ratings appear to increase as a result of completing the survey. Is is not clear why this is the case; however, it may be that "taking stock" of the positive and aversive behaviors may have led this sample to be more satisfied with their current relationship. These findings suggest that reviewing the positive and negative aspects of a relationship can be beneficial, but more research is indicated.

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