Similarity of Outcomes, Interdependence, and Conflict in Dating Relationships

  • Surra C
  • Longstreth M
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Abstract

Dating couples (N = 59) participated in a longitudinal study of hypotheses derived from interdependence theory. Whether each partner's activity preferences and similarity of preferences, weighted by liking, would predict joint activity participation was examined. Preferences explained participation better than similarity, and own preferences predicted better than other's preferences. We hypothesized that conflict would increase with the strength of preferences but would decrease with similarity. The hypothesis concerning similarity was confirmed for some activities. Participation, similarity, and conflict explained relationship satisfaction and stability, but participation predicted better for men, whereas conflict and similarity predicted better for women. The findings support the theory but suggest that interdependence problems vary by activity type and gender. Three patterns are discussed: turn taking, unresolved competition, and cooperation.

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Authors

  • Catherine A. Surra

  • Molly Longstreth

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