Power in romantic relationships : How positional and experienced power are associated with relationship quality

Faculty/Professorship: Personality Psychology and Psychological Assessment  
Author(s): Körner, Robert  ; Schütz, Astrid  
Publisher Information: Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität
Year of publication: 2021
Pages: 25
Source/Other editions: Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 38 (2021)
is version of: 10.1177/02654075211017670
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.20378/irb-49913
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY - Attribution 4.0 International 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-irb-499137
Power dynamics have been described as being constitutive of romantic relationships and can impact outcomes such as relationship quality. Yet, in relationships nowadays, power may be less important than in the past due to changes in gender roles and society’s expectations. We analyzed four power characteristics and their effects on a multidimensional measure of relationship quality using an actor-partner interdependence model framework with 181 heterosexual couples. There was usually a balance of power in the couples with respect to a personal sense of power but an imbalance in positional power. We found actor and partner effects: Personal sense of power and satisfaction with power predicted actors’ and partners’ relationship quality. By contrast, positional power, the general power motive, and the balance of power were not associated with relationship quality. There were hardly any differences in actor or partner effects between men and women. Apparently, it is not objective, positional power but subjective, experienced power that is relevant to overall relationship quality. Furthermore, what matters most for satisfaction with the relationship is not the balance of power but rather the perceived personal level of power. Future research may extend these findings by using domain-specific power measures and behavioral power indicators.
GND Keywords: Zweierbeziehung; Machtstruktur
Keywords: Actor-partner interdependence model, balance of power, personal sense of power, positional power, relationship quality
DDC Classification: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology  
RVK Classification: MS 1930   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/49913
Release Date: 29. July 2021

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