An Examination of the Tripartite Approach to Commitment: An Actor-Partner Interdependence Model Analysis of the Effect of Relational Maintenance Behavior

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commitment, dyadic analysis, maintenance strategies, marital relationships, relationship maintenance

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A consistently reported finding is that indicators of relationship quality reflect a strong association with relational maintenance behaviors (Stafford, 2002). The present study conceptualized one such indicator, commitment, as a multidimensional, tripartite phenomenon (Johnson, 1991, 1999) to examine its persistent association with maintenance behaviors over two time periods. Using an Actor-Partner Interdependence Model Analysis (APIM; Kashy & Kenny, 2000), the overall results revealed that actors' and partners' experience of personal commitment at time 2 was significantly associated with maintenance strategy use reported at time 1. Whereas the analysis of moral commitment showed a similar pattern of actor effects, the partner effects suggest spouses' experience of moral commitment may be more strongly connected to their partners' use of maintenance behavior than that of personal commitment. However, analysis of actors' and partners' experience of structural commitment revealed few significant associations with relational maintenance. Implications for the tripartite approach and relationship maintenance are discussed.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, v. 25, issue 6, p. 943-965