How do romantic relationships change the self-concept?
When people enter into romantic relationships, they often experience profound changes to the way they think about themselves. Some people experience 'self-expansion' (they add positive traits to their self-concept) as a result of engaging in novel, shared activities with their partner. Other people experience 'self-adulteration' (they add negative traits to their self-concept). For example, a person might start using drugs or alcohol to cope with a partner's abuse.
Along with my students in the Social Relationships Lab at Trinity University, we examine how close relationships affect the self-concept and the consequences that these changes have on overall relationship functioning and quality. Together with my collaborators, we have developed a two-dimensional model to examine these relationship-induced self-concept changes.
To access some of our recent papers, check out my ResearchGate page.
Listen to a podcast describing our work.
My frequent/recent research collaborators include: Brent Mattingly (Ursinus College), Gary Lewandowski (Monmouth University), Mona Xu (Idaho State University), and Tim Loving (University of Texas at Austin, Facebook).
Mattingly, B. A., McIntyre, K. P., & Selterman, D. (Forthcoming). Individual differences and romantic relationships: Bidirectional influences on self and relational processes. SAGE Handbook of Personality and Individual Differences.
McIntyre, K. P., Mattingly, B. A., & Lewandowski, G. W., Jr. (2015). When “we” changes “me”: The two-dimensional model of relational self-change and relationship outcomes. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 32, 857-878.
Mattingly, B. A., Lewandowski, G. W., Jr., & McIntyre, K. P. (2014). “You make me a better/worse person”: A two-dimensional model of relationship self-change. Personal Relationships, 21, 176-190.
Mattingly, B. A., McIntyre, K. P., & Lewandowski, G. W. (2012). Approach motivation and the expansion of self in close relationships. Personal Relationships, 19, 113-127.
McIntyre, K.P., Mattingly, B.A., Lewandowski, G.W., & Simpson, A. (2014). Workplace self-expansion: Implications for job satisfaction, commitment, self-concept clarity and self-esteem among the employed and unemployed. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 36, 59-69.
McIntyre, K. P., & Eisenstadt, D. (2011). Social comparison as a self-regulatory measuring stick. Self & Identity, 10, 137-151.
Eisenstadt, D., Hicks, J.L., McIntyre, K.P., Rivers, J.A., & Cahill, M. (2006). Two paths of defense: Specific versus compensatory reactions to self-threat. Self & Identity, 5, 35-50.