Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Carolyn E. Cutrona
Two studies examined relationship satisfaction in long distance relationships within the contexts of social exchange theory and cognitive dissonance theory. In study one, subjective and objective costs in relationships were measured over the course of a semester in both long distance and geographically proximal couples. Results suggested that participants in long distance relationships had higher objective and subjective costs than participants in geographically proximal relationships. In both long distance and geographically proximal couples an increase in either objective or subjective costs from time 1 to time 2 was related to a decrease in relationship satisfaction from time 1 to time 2, but the relationship between change in costs and change in relationship satisfaction did not differ by relationship type. Study two attempted to create cognitive dissonance about relationships in both long distance and geographically proximal couples. Although results suggested that people in long distance relationships who experienced cognitive dissonance about their relationships experienced a smaller decrease in their relationship satisfaction scores than members of geographically proximal relationships who experienced cognitive dissonance and members of long distance relationships in the non-dissonance, control condition, the difference was not statistically significant. Implications of these results and suggestions for further testing the applications of social exchange theory and cognitive dissonance theory to the issue of relationship satisfaction in long distance relationships are discussed.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Kelli Anne Gardner
Gardner, Kelli Anne, "Cognitive dissonance as an explanation for relationship satisfaction in long distance relationships " (2005). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 1729.