PSYCH  Vol.3 No.2 , February 2012
Romantic Relationships in Emerging Adulthood: Perception-Partner Ideal Discrepancies, Attributions, and Expectations
ABSTRACT
This study aimed to examine 1) emerging adults’ attributions for their subjectively perceived current ro- mantic relationship as good or bad, 2) the role of their perception-partner ideal discrepancies in estimate- ing their current romantic relationship as good or bad, and in the formation of attributions, and 3) the ef- fects of all the three concepts on the generation of the expectations for the quality of the romantic rela- tionship in the future. Undergraduate and postgraduate university students, from various faculties, ages of 18 to 25, both genders, participated in this study. The participants filled in, first, the scale of the romantic partner ideals, and, after one week, the scales of perceived of the quality of the current romantic relation- ship, attributions and expectations. The results regarding attributions revealed that 1) the perceived good romantic relationships were mainly attributed to internal and self-partner internal and controllable factors (love, passion, effective communication, honesty-loyalty, understanding each-other), whereas the per- ceived bad romantic relationships were mainly attributed to personal uncontrollable, external, unstable and partner’s internal factors (untrustworthiness, lack of passion, non honesty-loyalty, lack of love, and ineffective communication), and 2) locus of causality, followed by personal controllability and stability, was the most powerful attributional dimension in discriminating the two groups of the emerging adults. The findings regarding the perception-partner ideal discrepancy showed that 1) the students who had smaller perception-partner ideal discrepancy, compared to students who had larger perception-partner ideal discrepancy, estimated their current romantic relationships more favourable but only trustworthiness accounted for unique variance in it and 2) perception-partner ideal discrepancy in trustworthiness, fol- lowed by warmth/intimacy, and attractiveness/vitality, was the most powerful factor in discriminating the two groups of the participants. The results with respect to effects of partner ideal discrepancy on attributions indicated that 1) the students’ perception-partner ideal discrepancies proved to be a significant and positive factor in the formulation of the attributional dimensions (expect for external controllability), mainly both stability and locus of causality, for the perceived current quality of their romantic relationship and 2) only trustworthiness and warmth/intimacy had unique effects on locus of causality, and only trustworthiness uniquely contributed into stability, partner’s locus of causality, and self-partner interactive locus of causality. Finally, the three concepts, as a group, positively influenced the generation of expecta- tions of the quality of the romantic relationship in the future but no one of the components of the percep- tion-partner ideal discrepancy was unique contributor, while stability, self-partner interactive controllabil- ity, and, particularly, the perceived quality of the relationship accounted for unique variance in relation- ship expectations.

Cite this paper
Stephanou, G. (2012). Romantic Relationships in Emerging Adulthood: Perception-Partner Ideal Discrepancies, Attributions, and Expectations. Psychology, 3, 150-160. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.32023.
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