Send to

Choose Destination
J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 Mar;94(3):429-59. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.94.3.429.

Balancing connectedness and self-protection goals in close relationships: a levels-of-processing perspective on risk regulation.

Author information

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


A model of risk regulation is proposed to explain how low and high self-esteem people balance the tension between self-protection and connectedness goals in romantic relationships. This model assumes that interpersonal risk automatically activates connectedness and self-protection goals. The activation of these competing goals then triggers an executive control system that resolves this goal conflict. One correlational study and 8 experiments manipulating risk, goal strength, and executive strength and then measuring implicit and explicit goal activation and execution strongly supported the model. For people high in self-esteem, risk triggers a control system that directs them toward the situations of dependence within their relationship that can fulfill connectedness goals. For people low in self-esteem, however, the activation of connectedness goals triggers a control system that prioritizes self-protection goals and directs them away from situations where they need to trust or depend on their partner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center