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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Oct;79(4):521-45.

Perceived superiority in close relationships: why it exists and persists.

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Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27599-3270, USA.


Two studies used a thought-listing technique to examine perceived superiority, or the inclination to regard one's own relationship as better than (and not as bad as) others' relationships. Consistent with the claim that this is a motivated phenomenon-and motivated in part by strong commitment-Study 1 revealed that (a) tendencies toward perceived superiority and (b) the commitment-superiority link are both strongest given psychologically threatening instructions and weakest given accuracy instructions (control instructions are intermediate). Consistent with the claim that this phenomenon serves a functional purpose, Study 2 revealed that earlier perceived superiority predicts later relationship status (persisted vs. ended) and increases over time in dyadic adjustment. Also, commitment accounts for unique variance in perceived superiority beyond self-esteem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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