Partner Regulation: Scale Development While Examining the Connections Between Tactic Perception, Attachment Orientation, and Relationship Satisfaction Within Romantic Relationships




Witherell, Stephanie M.

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Research shows that partner regulation occurs with regularity in romantic relationships. However, there are inconsistencies within the literature regarding tactic valence and directness. The primary aim of this study was to develop a revised partner regulation scale using the ratings of participants (i.e., nonexperts). The secondary aim was to examine the relationship between participants' attachment orientation and perceptions of partner regulation tactics, and to determine if relationship satisfaction moderated the association between attachment and ratings of regulation tactics. Participants (N = 312) were required to be in a romantic relationship for at least six months and were recruited from undergraduate psychology courses at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Participants were asked to rate 63 partner regulation tactics on their valence and directness. After examining participant agreements, the final version of the scale retained 42 items, 15 of which were rated in an unexpected manner. This revised partner regulation scale is unique in that it asks individuals in relationships (i.e., non-experts) how they interpret individual partner regulation tactics. As demonstrated within the current study, laypersons may not always classify tactics in the same way that experts in this field do with their knowledge of taxonomic definitions. This may account (at least partly) for the inconsistencies in previous research. This knowledge can be used in future research, potentially giving future researchers greater insight into how partner regulation operates within romantic relationships as well as more examples of tactics.


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Attachment, Partner regulation, Relationship satisfaction, Scale development, Taxonomic definitions