Maintenance strategies are conceptualized as vehicles by which romantic partners can change, as well as preserve, their relationships. A longitudinal approach is used to investigate the idea that daters’ perceptions of proactive/constructive maintenance will affect four possible relational outcomes - escalation, stability, de-escalation and termination. Results indicate that perceived frequent use of proactive/constructive maintenance strategies is associated with stability or escalation, while perceived infrequent use of these strategies is related to de-escalation or termination. Results also demonstrate that perceptions of openness and assurances increase over time in escalating relationships, while perceptions of positivity, assurances and the sharing of tasks decrease in de-escalating relationships. These findings support the contention that proactive/constructive maintenance strategies operate not only to stabilize relationships, but also to change them.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Psychology