When "We" Changes "Me": The Two-Dimensional Model of Relational Self-Change and Relationship Outcomes
Individuals in close relationships may perceive changes to their self-concepts as a result of being with their partners. According to the two-dimensional model of relational self-change, these changes occur across two dimensions, namely direction, which reflects whether the self-concept has gained or lost content, and valence, which reflects whether the self-concept content is positive or negative. These two dimensions combine to create four distinct self-change processes, whereby individuals gain positive traits (self-expansion), gain negative traits (self-adulteration), lose positive traits (self-contraction), and lose negative traits (self-pruning). Study 1 used a longitudinal design and revealed that changes in each of the four self-processes were associated with subsequent relationship satisfaction and commitment. To further investigate the association of self-change with relationship quality, Study 2 found that processes associated with self-concept improvement (i.e., self-expansion and self-pruning) were positively associated with relationship maintenance behaviors and motivations (e.g., accommodation, forgiveness, and willingness to sacrifice), whereas processes associated with self-concept degradation (i.e., self-contraction and self-adulteration) were negatively associated with these outcomes and positively associated with behaviors that may harm the relationship (e.g., dissolution considerations, attention to alternatives, and seeking revenge).
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
McIntyre, K. P., Mattingly, B. A., & Lewandowski, G. W., Jr. (2015). When "we" changes "me" : The two-dimensional model of relational self-change and relationship outcomes. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 32, 857-878. doi:10.1177/0265407514553334
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships