Symposium 6

  • 2:00 pm To 3:30 pm on July 20, 2019
  • Terrace Room Bramber House

New Developments in Romantic Disillusionment Research

This symposium presents three studies of romantic disillusionment: one examining whether Big Five personality traits moderate the effects of spouses’ negative interpersonal behavior (e.g., criticizing, showing disinterest) on perceivers’ romantic disillusionment (measured roughly 2.5 years later); one exploring whether disillusionment predicts individuals’ depressive symptoms or vice-versa, both from an actor and partner perspective; and one seeking to translate the Relationship Disillusionment Scale from its original English into a Polish-language version and establish the latter’s sound psychometric properties. Introductory remarks by organizer Sylvia Niehuis and closing remarks by discussant Stanley Gaines will put the symposium’s new empirical contributions in broader context.

Personality as a Moderator of Spouses’ Negative Interpersonal Behaviors and Relationship Disillusionment

A longitudinal study of predominantly Hispanic and White newlywed couples in the southwestern U.S. examined whether Big Five personality traits moderated the effects of spouses’ negative interpersonal behavior (e.g., criticizing, showing disinterest) on perceivers’ romantic disillusionment (measured roughly 2.5 years later). Main-effects of personality on later disillusionment were also tested. The trait of conscientiousness moderated this association in men. Main-effects from regression analyses showed other traits – agreeableness (in both sexes), emotional stability (in men), and openness (in women) – to predict lower future disillusionment.

Testing Bidirectional Actor-Partner Effects Between Romantic Disillusionment and Depressive Symptoms

The present study examines whether romantic disillusionment predicts individuals’ depressive symptoms or whether the reverse is true, in a newlywed sample in the U.S., surveyed twice roughly 2.5 years apart. Whereas previous studies used satisfaction, love, and conflict as relationship-quality measures, the present one examined romantic disillusionment with one’s partner and/or relationship. Consistent with prior literature, women’s Phase-1 disillusionment predicted their Phase-2 depressive symptoms, although this did not occur in men. No findings in the other direction emerged. Further three longitudinal partner-effects were obtained, as women’s P1 disillusionment predicted men’s P2 depression and P2 disillusionment, and men’s P1 disillusionment predicted women’s P2 depression. The findings extend existing literature by showing that both actor- and partner-effects of disillusionment temporally precede individual depression symptoms.

Polish Adaptation of the Relationship Disillusionment Scale

This presentation reports initial efforts to translate the Relationship Disillusionment Scale (RDS; Niehuis & Bartell, 2006; Niehuis, Reifman, & Lee, 2015) from its original English into a Polish-language version and establishes the psychometric soundness of the latter. Translation and back-translation procedures are described. Initial statistical information from a sample of Polish young adults – alpha reliability of the Polish version, correlation between the English and Polish versions, and a confirmatory factor analysis of the Polish version – are also reported. Results of these steps suggest that development of the Polish RDS has thus far been successful.

Discussant - New Developments in Romantic Disillusionment Research

Dr. Stanley Gaines will discuss the three symposium presentations.