Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Psychology
No research to date has examined how regulatory focus theory applies to relationships that are maintained long-distance, nor if individuals’ regulatory orientations differ in predicting relationship maintenance efforts between relationships that are geographically-close and those that are long-distance. The current study explores the communication efforts, ideal perceptions, and regulatory behaviors of individuals as a function of their regulatory focus (promotion focus vs. prevention focus) and relationship type (geographically-close vs. long-distance). One hundred eighty participants completed a survey that assessed their relationship type, regulatory focus, and relationship maintenance efforts (i.e., communications, perceptions, and behavior). Overall, it was found that individuals in long-distance relationships, compared to individuals in geographically-close relationships, engage in more frequent communication efforts, more self-idealized perceptions, and less self-regulation behaviors. Regarding regulatory orientations, those with a high degree of promotion focus, compared to those with a low degree of promotion focus, reported more intimate communication, more idealized perceptions of their partners and themselves, and less behavioral regulation of their partners and themselves. Alternatively, those with a high degree of prevention focus, compares to those with a low degree of prevention focus, reported less frequent communication, less partner-idealized perceptions, and more behavioral regulation of their partners and themselves. While regulatory orientations did not differ as a function of relationship type, implications are discussed pertaining to how the rapid evolution of communication technology has changed the way in which individuals maintain their relationship.
Hampton, Adam James, "To Promote or Prevent When Near or Far: Exploring Regulatory Focus in Geographically-Close and Long-Distance Relationships" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 570.