Self-Regulation and Wisdom in Relationship Satisfaction
This thesis describes a program of research which aimed to explore the role of relationship self-regulation (or relationship "effort") and wisdom in relationship satisfaction. Three separate studies were conducted to examine the association between self-regulation and satisfaction, and the mechanisms for this association. Study 1 examined self-regulation, wisdom and satisfaction, using a sample of 61 couples in long-term relationships, and found that while wisdom shared little association with
... e association with satisfaction, self-regulation was a significant correlate of satisfaction for men and women. Study 2 examined whether the association between self-regulation and satisfaction was mediated by communication skills in a sample of 101 couples in the early stages of their relationship. Results replicated the self-regulation/satisfaction association found in Study 1, but provided no evidence for mediation by communication. Study 3 tested for mediation of the self-regulation/satisfaction association by attributions in a sample of 73 newly-wed couples. The association between self-regulation and satisfaction was partially mediated by attributions, but self-regulation also had a direct relationship with satisfaction. It was concluded that self-regulation is an important correlate of satisfaction in relationships, and that this association cannot be fully explained by communication or attributions. Several directions for future research were provided, including the need to examine self-regulation and its predictors longitudinally, ways in which a behavioural measure of self-regulation could be developed, and the implications of self-regulation for couple therapy.