OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

The Impact of Optimism on Relationship Commitment


The present study examined whether dispositional and relationship-specific optimism mediated the association between the Investment Model predictors of satisfaction, investment size, and quality of alternatives, with relationship commitment. Optimism is positively associated with a variety of intra- and interpersonal outcomes including good physical and psychological health, life satisfaction, and relationship satisfaction with relatives and co-workers . The effect of optimism on romantic relationships is relatively understudied, yet is worthy of investigation given its demonstrated positive outcomes in other domains. This leads to the question: How does optimism affect the persistence of romantic relationships? Participants were recruited using SONA Systems, an online participant management tool. They had to be at least 18 years old and currently involved in a committed romantic relationship in order to participate. Participants 62 5th Annual Student Research Symposium (N = 180) completed an online survey that included the Revised Life-Orientation, Relationship-specific optimism scale, the Investment Model Scale, and demographic questions. Participants then completed a three-month follow-up survey to assess their current relationship status and commitment level. We found support for one of our hypotheses; the association between the investment model predictors and commitment was partially mediated by relationship-specific optimism. Dispositional optimism did not mediate the investment model associations. We found a positive correlation between both types of optimism—relationship and dispositional—with commitment at Time 2 suggesting that optimism bolsters romantic relationship persistence. The findings are discussed using social exchange theory and concepts from positive psychology.

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