Abigail Masterson, Christopher Leone, & Irma Hall
Dr. Christopher Leone | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Psychology
High self-monitors are concerned with social appropriateness, whereas low self-monitors are concerned with self-congruence (Fuglestad & Snyder, 2010; Snyder, 1974). These self-monitoring characteristics are related to the dynamics of close relationships – particularly commitment (Leone & Hall, 2003; Simpson, 1987). Commitment is predicted from relationship satisfaction, investment, and alternatives (Rusbult, Agnew, & Arriaga, 2012). We explored these three variables as mediators of the connection between self-monitoring and commitment. Fifty couples (50 wives, 50 husbands) ages 19 to 72 completed the 18-item Self-Monitoring Scale (Snyder & Gangestad, 1986) and the satisfaction, investment, quality of alternatives, and commitment subscales of Rusbult’s Investment Model (Rusbult et al. 2012). Except for spouses’ relationship satisfaction (r=.53), spouses’ self-monitoring (r=.03), commitment (r=.19), investment (r=.03), and alternatives (r=.08) were uncorrelated. We therefore analyzed wives’ and husbands’ data separately. Using a parallel mediation model (Hayes, 2013), there was a reliable indirect effect – mediated by satisfaction – of self-monitoring on commitment for wives (r= -.31). For husbands, there were reliable indirect effects – mediated by satisfaction (r=-.26) and alternatives (r=.31) – of self-monitoring on commitment. For wives and husbands, there were no reliable direct effects of self-monitoring on commitment. These findings extend our understanding of self-monitoring differences in commitment within close relationships. These findings have been replicated with a sample of individuals in romantic relationships. Future directions include examining effects at a dyadic level (Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006) as well as assessing protective versus acquisitive forms of self-monitoring (Wilmot, 2015).
Hi my name is Abigail Masterson and I am in the Master’s program in psychology here at UNF. Today I am going to be telling you all about how self-monitoring effects relationship commitment.
A little bit of background information. Self-Monitoring is the individual differences in people’s ability and motivation to control their external expressions (which include self-presentation and nonverbal expression). There are two types highs and lows. High self-monitors care more about how other people view them and tailor their self-presentation depending on situations. Low self-monitors on the other hand care more about their internal attitudes and values and will base their self-presentation on those.
In the context of relationships and marriage specifically, low self-monitors divorce less than high self-monitors. Also, low self-monitors choose marriage whereas high self-monitors choose cohabitation. This is due to low-self-monitors being more committed than high self-monitors.
In the Investment Model of relationship commitment, such commitment is the product of three factors: satisfaction level, investment size, and quality of alternatives. Satisfaction is pretty self explanatory, investment is how invested a person is in their relationship, and quality of alternatives is how people see other potential partners in comparison to their current one. The idea is that the higher satisfaction, more investment, and see a lower quality of alternative partners, the more committed you are.
Self-monitoring and the investment model both have ties to commitment level. In our investigation we hypothesized: low self-monitors will have higher satisfaction and be more committed than high self-monitors, low self-monitors will be more invested and therefore more committed than high self-monitors, and low self-monitors will see less quality in alternative partners and therefore more committed than high self-monitors.
We used a sample of 50 couples (100 people) in the Jacksonville area. For our measures we used the 18 item self-monitoring scale to assess self-monitoring. This scale is a simple true and false. We also used the investment model scale to assess the investment model which used a likert type scale.
We analyzed husbands and wives’ data separately. Using mediation, we found that for wives there was no direct effect of self-monitoring on commitment. There was an indirect effect of self-monitoring via satisfaction. This means while self-monitoring did not directly effect commitment, self-monitoring indirectly effected commitment through satisfaction (so how satisfied they were influenced how committed they were).
For husbands, there was no direct effect. There was an indirect effect of self-monitoring on commitment via satisfaction and quality of alternatives. This means while self-monitoring did not directly effect commitment, self-monitoring indirectly effected commitment through quality of alternatives and satisfaction (so how satisfied they were influenced how committed they were and lower ratings of quality of alternatives influenced how committed they were).
This study helped to extend our understanding of self-monitoring differences in commitment. It also examined self-monitoring effects of commitment moderated by gender. Meaning that gender might play a role in how committed people are.
Some limitations of this study are that we used a self-report survey, meaning the answers could be biased or untruthful. It was also correlational and not experimental so we cannot draw causal conclusions. Lastly the data was not analyzed dyadically (meaning not analyzed as a couple).
some future directions: Replicating in LGBT relationships. Also assessing protective vs acquisitive self-monitoring (which is a different model). And examining at a dyadic level to see if there are partner effects. This will be done with the model below which is the actor partner interdependence model.
If you have any questions my email is on my poster in the lower right corner. Feel free to reach out! Thank you for listening to my presentation.