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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2004 Nov;87(5):631-48.

A secure base: responsive support of goal strivings and exploration in adult intimate relationships.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


A theoretical framework is proposed for examining the interpersonal processes involved in the support of a relationship partner's goal strivings, personal growth, and exploratory behavior, and for examining consequences of receiving either responsive or unresponsive support in this domain. These processes were examined using both observational and experimental methods. In Phase 1, couples were videotaped as they discussed personal goals for the future. In Phase 2, support behavior was experimentally manipulated to examine immediate effects on the recipient. Results indicated that responsive (nonintrusive) support of a relationship partner's goal strivings and explorations have important implications for the recipient's happiness, self-esteem, and perceived likelihood of achieving specific goals. The importance of research examining this type of support is discussed.

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