Self-respect and pro-relationship behavior in marital relationships

Madoka Kumashiro*, Eli J. Finkel, Caryl E. Rusbult

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This work advances an interdependence theoretic analysis of the role of self-respect in ongoing close relationships. Self-respect is defined as the tendency to perceive the self as a principled person who is worthy of honor and high regard and is argued to rest on moral integrity. Consistent with predictions, results from a study of marital relationships revealed that individual self-respect is positively associated with both the individual's and the partner's pro-relationship behavior (accommodation, forgiveness, conciliation). Mediation analyses revealed that self-respect not only exhibits direct associations with each person's behavior, but also exhibits indirect associations with each person's behavior, via the impact of each person's actions on reciprocal pro-relationship behavior from the partner. Mediation was more reliably observed for the association of self-respect with partner behavior than for the association with individual behavior. Both individual pro-relationship behavior and partner pro-relationship behavior are positively associated with couple well-being, which in turn is positively associated with personal well-being (life satisfaction, physical health, psychological adjustment). These associations were evident in both within-participant and across-partner analyses and for both self-report and interaction-based measures of behavior. Self-respect reliably accounts for unique variance beyond variance attributable to self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1050
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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