Self-control allows people to curb destructive behavior and behave more pro-socially in relationships. Thus, individuals generally trust partners with high dispositional self-control more. However, it is not clear whether partner self-control influences individuals’ responses to acutely risky situations, such as when partners are rejecting. A daily diary study of married and cohabiting couples examined whether actors with high self-control partners behave less self-protectively in risky situations. On days partners were highly rejecting, actors were less likely to retaliate against and more likely to value high self-control partners. On days after partners had been rejecting, actors also reported that high self-control partners behaved more responsively. Actors also trusted partners with high self-control more regardless of risk. Taken together, our findings suggest that partners’ greater self-control may help foster more positive interaction cycles in romantic relationships.
Bibliographical noteThe author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for
the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work
was supported by the National Science Foundation (BCS-1143747).
- self regulation
- close relationships
- romantic relationships
- risk regulation