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Psychol Assess. 2018 Feb;30(2):241-258. doi: 10.1037/pas0000464. Epub 2017 Apr 6.

Personality strengths in romantic relationships: Measuring perceptions of benefits and costs and their impact on personal and relational well-being.

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Department of Psychology.


Three studies using samples of people in romantic relationships were conducted to create a new individual difference measure of partner strengths in couples. The 2 perceptions of partner strengths included (1) appreciation of their use and effectiveness and (2) recognition of costs associated with their use. Factor analyses supported 2-factors and we found that greater appreciation of partner strengths predicted greater relationship satisfaction, commitment, investment, intimacy, self-expansion, and support for goal pursuit; recognizing significant costs with partner strengths was inversely related to several outcomes. Using a 1-week daily diary, we found that appreciation of partner strength use and recognition of costs associated with these strengths predicted daily relationship satisfaction and whether basic psychological needs were met within the relationship. The explanatory power of partner strength perceptions could not be explained by the actual character strengths or Big Five personality traits of partners, support for positive self-disclosures (capitalization), or gratitude for relationship partners. Finally, we found that the relational consequences of partner strength perceptions were not just "in the head" of the perceiver-influencing partner relational outcomes. This research program provides evidence for the use of a new measure of how strengths are perceived to better understand romantic couples and aspirational targets in clinical interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record.


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