The authors theorized that adversity elicits relationship mainte- nance responses when level of adversity is calibrated with level of commitment. To test this, the authors examined the commit- ment-devaluation effect:Those committed to a close relationship are thought to devalue attractive alternatives. Two levels of adversity were operationalized. Participants evaluated an at- tractive alternative (moderate threat), or participants evaluated the same target after learning that the target was attracted to them (high threat). Unmarried and low on a relationship commitment scale was considered low commitment; unmarried but high or married but low on the scale were considered moderately committed. Finally married and high on the scale was considered high commitment. Under moderate threat, mod- erately committed rated the alternative as less attractive than those low and high in commitment. Under high threat, those high in commitment rated the alternative as less attractive than those low and moderately committed. Gender differences and comparisons with single people were examined.
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