The measurement and prediction of commitment in dating relationships: a full model

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Cottle, Nathan Roger

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Individuals in romantic, dating relationships engage in forecasting the future viability of their relationships based on information they receive. These predictions promote the development of commitment, or individuals’ future orientations toward the relationship. This orientation includes their confidence in its future and their feelings about commitment. This study addressed issues raised in the literature regarding the conceptual overlap of commitment with its predictors in the measurement and prediction of commitment in a sample of 232 dating couples. Commitment was defined strictly to remove the content of the relationship from its measurement and to distinguish it from its causative factors, specifically passionate love, satisfaction, and coupleness. Using the strictly defined measure, a comprehensive model of commitment was introduced and tested to examine the relationships between commitment and its personal, moral, and structural predictors. Both personal (e.g., passionate love, satisfaction, and coupleness) and structural (e.g., social concern, alternative monitoring) predictors were associated with commitment. Significant interactions existed between coupleness and investments for men and between coupleness and partner replacement for women. Finally, potential gender differences in the measurement and prediction of commitment were explored. No significant differences were found in the measurement and prediction of commitment for men and women. The results of this study indicated that commitment can be measured as a separate construct and that commitment is robustly associated with its personal and structural predictors.