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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2006 Jan;32(1):40-51.

Marginalized relationships: the impact of social disapproval on romantic relationship commitment.

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  • 1Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081, USA.

Abstract

Little research has examined the effects of prejudice and discrimination on people's romantic relationships. The authors explored whether belonging to a socially devalued relationship affects consequential relational phenomena. Within the framework of the Investment Model, the authors (a) tested the association between perceived relationship marginalization and relationship commitment, (b) compared investment levels of individuals involved in marginalized versus nonmarginalized relationships, and (c) explored ways in which couples may compensate for decreased investments to maintain high commitment. Consistent with hypotheses, marginalization was a significant negative predictor of commitment. Moreover, individuals in marginalized relationships invested significantly less than individuals in nonmarginalized relationships. Despite investing less, marginalized relationship partners were significantly more committed than were their nonmarginalized counterparts. Thus, marginalized partners appeared to compensate for their reduced investments, with evidence suggesting that compensation occurs via reduced perception of relationship alternatives rather than via increased perception of relationship satisfaction.

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