Couple Social Comparisons and Relationship Quality: A Path Analysis Model

Sara Petrilli, Miriam Parise, Silvio Carlo Ripamonti, Silvia Donato

This study offers an important contribution to the literature on couple social comparisons by showing how different aspects of comparisons are related to relationship quality.

Making social comparisons is a daily tendency of human beings that does not only occur on an individual level but also in the context of romantic relationships. This phenomenon is widespread among couples, though partners differ in terms of their propensity to make couple social comparisons. The literature has shown that all these facets of couple social comparison play an important role in relationship functioning.

In the current study of 104 young adults in a heterosexual relationship, we investigated the association of couple social comparison propensity, explicit couple social comparisons, and implicit couple social comparisons with couple relationship quality in terms of commitment and relationship satisfaction.

So far, studies have not tested all these aspects in predicting partners’ relationship quality.

Results showed that commitment was negatively predicted by relationship social comparison propensity and positively predicted by implicit couple social comparisons, while relationship satisfaction was positively predicted by both implicit and explicit couple social comparisons.

Our results have implications for couple interventions. In preventive interventions, sustaining a positive view of one’s relationship may promote relationship satisfaction and commitment.

Future research should adopt a dyadic design to investigate cross-partner associations.

couple social comparison propensity, explicit couple social comparisons, implicit couple social comparisons, couple relationship quality, commitment, relationship satisfaction
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