Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Boredom in romantic relationships
by Strong, Gregory James, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2008, 36; 3338166
Abstract (Summary)

The success of romantic relationships, an important goal to most people, depends on many factors. Marital satisfaction decline over time is well documented (Bradbury, Fincham, & Beach, 2000) but the reasons for decline are little understood. Boredom is often cited as a reason for relationship problems (McKenna, 1989; Reissman, Aron, & Bergen, 1993) and may be a significant predictor of relationship dissolution (Aron & Aron, 1986; Fincham & Linfield, 1997; Gigy & Kelly, 1992). Unfortunately, the concept of “boredom” has received little attention in relationship research (Vodanovich, 2003). Building upon two relationship processes (the self-expansion model and approach/avoidance motivation), I proposed that relationship boredom was associated with an absence of affect and/or motivational goals and leads to decreased relationship satisfaction. I attempted to test this in a series of five studies. In the first two studies, I constructed a scale of relationship boredom by using prototype methods (e.g., Fehr, 1988, 2004) and constructed an additional scale of satisfaction based on relationship rewards. In studies three and four, both the boredom scale and the relationship rewards scale were validated, with both showing high reliability, while correlational analyses supported the association between boredom and affect and motivation. Even while controlling for relationship satisfaction, relational boredom was significantly negatively correlated with positive affect, relationship rewards, and relationship approach and avoidance (there was a slight, non-significant negative correlation with negative affect). In the fifth and final study, I used the new boredom scale to measure relationship boredom in participants primed to feel either high or low levels of positive and negative affect in their relationship, or high or low levels of approach and avoidance motivation in their relationship. The results of the fifth study, the priming experiment, were inconclusive. Possible reasons for the lack of support for the hypothesis in the priming study and potential alternative explanations, as well as implications, limitations, and future directions, are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
School: State University of New York at Stony Brook
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology
Keywords: Approach/avoidance motivation, Boredom, Emotion, Interpersonal relationships, Romantic relationships
Publication Number: 3338166
ISBN: 978-0-549-92812-6
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