If I had never met you : counterfactual thinking and romantic relationships
Studer, Lauren E.
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SubjectResearch Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Psychology; Counterfactual Thinking; Counterfactuals (Logic); Romantic Relationships; Interpersonal relations - Psychological aspects; Couples - Psychological aspects; Self-Expansion Theory; Codependency; Qualitative Analysis
The present study examined a sample of 260 individuals, between the ages of 18 and 29, in romantic relationships. The main focus of this research was to identify the ways in which individuals view the function of their relationships through counterfactual thinking and to delineate associations between counterfactual thinking, self-expansion and codependence. Content analysis of counterfactual responses was also conducted, and overarching themes were identified and compared with outcome measures. Findings revealed correlations between levels of codependency, relationship satisfaction, self-expansion and perceived interpersonal overlap between the self and partner. Common themes within the counterfactual thinking exercise included changes in personal characteristics, health related behavior and emotionality. Strengths of this study include the lack of formal direction in the counterfactual thinking exercise, which allowed participants to discuss any salient characteristics of the relationships and provided very robust findings in this sample. Implications for these findings are discussed.
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