Recalling Experiences: Looking at Momentary, Retrospective and Global Assessments of Relationship Satisfaction

Caroline Zygar-Hoffmann, Felix D. Schönbrodt
2020 Collabra: Psychology  
Relationship satisfaction can be assessed in retrospection, as a global evaluation, or as a momentary state. In two experience sampling studies (N = 130, N = 510) the specificities of these assessment modalities are examined. We show that 1) compared to other summary statistics like the median, the mean of relationship satisfaction states describes retrospective and global evaluations best (but the difference to some other summary statistics was negligible); 2) retrospection introduces an
more » ... introduces an overestimation of the average annoyance in the relationship reported on a momentary basis, which results in an overall negative mean-level bias for retrospective relationship satisfaction; 3) this bias is most strongly moderated by global relationship satisfaction at the time of retrospection; 4) snapshots of momentary relationship satisfaction get representative of global evaluations after approximately two weeks of sampling. The findings extend the recall bias reported in the literature for retrospection of negative affect to the domain of relationship evaluations and assist researchers in designing efficient experience sampling studies. The Special Case of Relationship Satisfaction Our study focused on a dyadic setting and the assessments of individuals' relationship satisfaction. While this construct naturally plays a vital role for the study of relationships, it is also of special interest from an assessment perspective.
doi:10.1525/collabra.278 fatcat:fslo5iwrhbhe3c4i2y2g4qht5a