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Psychol Bull. 2006 Sep;132(5):641-66.

Optimizing assurance: the risk regulation system in relationships.

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Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14260-4110, USA.


A model of risk regulation is proposed to explain how people balance the goal of seeking closeness to a romantic partner against the opposing goal of minimizing the likelihood and pain of rejection. The central premise is that confidence in a partner's positive regard and caring allows people to risk seeking dependence and connectedness. The risk regulation system consists of 3 interconnected "if--then" contingency rules, 1 cognitive, 1 affective, and 1 behavioral. The authors describe how general perceptions of a partner's regard structure the sensitivity of these 3 "if--then" rules in risky relationship situations. The authors then describe the consequences of such situated "if--then" rules for relationship well-being and conclude by integrating other theoretical perspectives and outlining future research directions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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