Self processes in interdependent relationships: Partner affirmation and the Michelangelo phenomenon

Caryl E Rusbult, Madoka Kumashiro, Shevaun L Stocker, Jeffrey L Kirchner, Eli J Finkel, Michael K Coolsen

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Abstract

This essay reviews theory and research regarding the “Michelangelo phenomenon,“ which describes the manner in which close partners shape one another's dispositions, values, and behavioral tendencies. Individuals are more likely to exhibit movement toward their ideal selves to the degree that their partners exhibit affirming perception and behavior; exhibiting confidence in the self's capacity and enacting behaviors that elicit key features of the self's ideal. In turn, movement towards the ideal self yields enhanced personal well-being and couple well-being. We review empirical evidence regarding this phenomenon and discuss self and partner variables that contribute to the process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-391
JournalInteraction Studies
Volume6
StatePublished - 2005

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    Rusbult, C. E., Kumashiro, M., Stocker, S. L., Kirchner, J. L., Finkel, E. J., & Coolsen, M. K. (2005). Self processes in interdependent relationships: Partner affirmation and the Michelangelo phenomenon. Interaction Studies, 6, 375-391.