Approach and avoidance goals and perceptions of romantic partners’ traits

TitleApproach and avoidance goals and perceptions of romantic partners’ traits
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsGosnell CL, Gable SL
JournalCurrent Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues
Date PublishedJan 06
ISBN Number1046-1310, 1046-1310
Keywords2100:General Psychology, Approach goals, article, Avoidance goals, No terms assigned, Partner perceptions, Partner traits, Relationship satisfaction

We hypothesized that people’s relationship motives would be associated with how they think about their romantic partners’ personal qualities. Specifically, across two studies using a community and student sample, we examined how individual differences in social approach and social avoidance goal strength shaped perceptions of traits in romantic partners. We utilized two different reaction-time-based methods that had participants quickly describe or categorize their partner. Through a series of partial correlation analyses, we found that approach goals were associated with more easily perceiving and evaluating partners in terms of positive traits that partners possess. In contrast, avoidance goals were associated with greater ease in perceiving partners in terms of the negative traits they lack. Results are discussed in terms of the ways in which these different patterns of framing a partner’s traits may have implications for relationship satisfaction and partner evaluation. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved) (Source: journal abstract)

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