Trait Affiliation as a Predictor of Social Goals and Romantic Relationship Qualities

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CONFERENCE: Linfield College Student Symposium: A Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Achievement

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Mathisen, Rhianna J.
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Affiliation, or the tendency to desire and engage in affiliative social bonding, seems crucial to the function of romantic relationships. Trait affiliation, however, has infrequently been investigated as an individual difference related to romantic relationship outcomes. Previous work demonstrated how trait affiliation can be theoretically understood and operationalized as a combination of the Compassion aspect of Agreeableness and the Enthusiasm aspect of Extraversion using a Big Five framework.Building on previous research in romantic relationships, we tested the performance of an affiliation scale we created as a predictor of important relationship factors such as satisfaction and quality.We found that affiliation is significantly correlated with relationship satisfaction. Affiliation was significantly associated with engaging with social behaviors to increase closeness or social bonding, including both daily events and weekly social events. For the participants who were in romantic relationships, affiliation was significantly and positively correlated with relationship quality, commitment, and satisfaction. In fact, affiliation predicted relationship quality over and above the effects of extraversion, agreeableness, and attachment insecurity. This association was not moderated by relationship length or gender.