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Title: Accommodating Complexity: Adapting Accommodation Theory to Capture Responses to Specific Transgressions
Author: Rasmussen, Kyler Ray
Advisor: Boon, Susan
Keywords: Psychology--Social
Abstract: Sooner or later, we are all going to be hurt by the ones we love. Though we cannot wholly prevent such transgressions from occurring, we may be able to control how we respond, and those responses can help determine the outcome of the transgression, for good or ill. One of the most prominent models for understanding how individuals respond to transgression has been Rusbult’s EVLN model, a two-dimensional typology with four categories: Exit, Voice, Loyalty and Neglect. Despite its usefulness, this typology is limited in important ways, which prompted me to re-examine and re-calibrate the EVLN. In this dissertation, I present two studies designed to describe how individuals can respond to specific transgressions from a romantic partner (rather than responses to relationship dissatisfaction, as the EVLN was initially designed to do). In these studies, I asked undergraduate participants to list how they would respond to several hypothetical transgressions (Study 1, Phase 1; N = 107) or community participants how they actually responded to recalled transgression from a romantic partner (Study 2, Phase 1; N = 39). I then had undergraduates generate various ratings of those responses (Study 1, Phases 2 and 3; N = 150 and 195 respectively; Study 2, Phase 2, N = 197) and used multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) techniques to assess how transgression-related responses should be organized and categorized. The result is an eight-fold typology summarized by the acronym CARE-CAMP. This typology differs from the EVLN in that it provides alternate dimensions (“avoidant” and “retaliatory”) and unique categories (e.g., “Cold-Shoulder” and “Moratorium”) that add theoretically important nuance to our understanding of accommodation in close relationships.
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