The authors explored the relations among self-esteem, perceived regard, and satisfaction in dating relationships. On the basis of the dependency regulation model (T. DeHart, B. Pelham, & S. Murray, 2004), the authors hypothesized that self-esteem would influence individuals' self-perceptions and views of how their partners perceive them (metaperception). They also hypothesized that perceived regard (self-perception minus metaperception) would predict relationship satisfaction. Regression analyses indicated that for moderate relationship-relevant traits (i.e., caring, loving), high self-esteem was associated with self-enhancement (idealization), whereas low self-esteem was associated with self-deprecation. For low relationship-relevant traits (i.e., quiet, reserved), both low and high self-esteem individuals self-enhanced. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that self-esteem and perceived regard for moderate relationship-relevant traits predicted satisfaction. The authors discuss the implications of idealization, self-verification, and self-deprecation for the perceivers and their relationships.
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