Ideal-actual mate mismatch and relational outcomes in romantic couples

Gündoğdu Aktürk, Elçin
The present dissertation aims to extent the investigation the relationship between ideal-actual partner mismatch and relationship evaluations. Two primary purposes are to ascertain how the discrepancy between ideal standards and romantic partner traits are associated with relationship constructs among romantic couples and to investigate the causal association between this discrepancy and relationship quality. For these aims, two studies were designed. The main prediction of the first study was that higher ideal-actual discrepancy would be negatively associated with relationship outcomes such as relationship quality, spontaneous reactions to partner, basic need satisfaction, perceived partner responsiveness, and positive relationship beliefs. Couples (N=154) participated in the study. Results of Actor Partner Interdependence Model analyses revealed that both actors’ and partners’ higher discrepancy was associated with lower perceived partner responsiveness, basic need fulfillment and relationship quality. Contrary to expectations, there were weak associations between discrepancy and spontaneous partner evaluations and relationship beliefs. Second study was designed to test whether ideal-actual mismatch causes lower relationship quality. Individuals (N=127) were exposed to a manipulation to make them feel that their ideal partners either match or do not match with their current partner. Following the manipulation, their relationship evaluations were examined. Results demonstrated that manipulation did not work, and there was not significant difference between two conditions. The findings were discussed in light of previous work.  


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Citation Formats
E. Gündoğdu Aktürk, “Ideal-actual mate mismatch and relational outcomes in romantic couples,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2017.