Commitment across Domains
When seeking to understand why some relationships succeed whereas others fail, typically we employ samples of romantic dyads and test the process directly. We do so because romantic relationships usually have the greatest interdependence and thus demonstrate interdependent processes most clearly. However, contextual extensions (e.g., applying relationship theory to other samples or domains) can also yield important information about basic relationship processes. For example, casual sexual relationships between friends (i.e., Friends with Benefits relationships, FWBRs) are unique from romantic relationships in that the involved individuals intentionally avoid integrating their sexual relationship and friendship into a global “romantic relationship,” (Lehmiller, VanderDrift, & Kelly, 2011). As such, studying commitment with a sample of FWBRs can illuminate how commitment to the different elements of a romantic relationship might operate independent of each other. Results indicated that investment made into the friendship part of the relationship benefitted both friendship and sexual commitment, whereas investment made into the sexual part of the relationship increased only sexual commitment (VanderDrift, Lehmiller, & Kelly, 2012). Furthermore, it is commitment to the friendship, rather than the sexual relationship, that predicts whether individuals want a more interdependent type (e.g., a romance) or a less interdependent one (e.g., end the relationship; VanderDrift et al., 2012).
Similarly, we have extended relationship process work to understanding how people choose between a preference for diplomacy or war in international relations (Hoffman, Agnew, VanderDrift, Kulzich, 2015), what motivates individuals to maintain a particular religious identity versus convert or leave religion (Wesselmann, VanderDrift, & Agnew, 2016), and whether commitment processes differ as a result of cultural differences between Chilean and American individuals (VanderDrift, Agnew, & Wilson, 2014). In each of these extensions, we have learned more about the generalizability, robustness, and nuance of relationship processes.
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- Machia, L. V., Proulx, M. L., Ioerger, M. & Lehmiller, J. J. (2020). A Longitudinal Study of Friends with Benefits Relationships. Personal Relationships, 27, 47-60. doi: 10.1111/pere.12307. (and for a video explaining this work, please see here)
- Houck, S. C., McFarland, J., Machia, L. V., & Conway, L. G. (2019). When beliefs lead to (im)moral action: Explaining torture endorsement by examining beliefs in its effectiveness. Political Psychology, 40, 1315-1339. doi: 10.1111/pops.12590
- Ioerger, M., Machia, L. V., & Turk, M. A. (2019). Self-other overlap: a unique predictor of willingness to work with people with disability as part of one’s career. PLOS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220722.
- Antshel, K. A., VanderDrift, L. E., & Pauline, J. S. (2017). The role of athletic identity in the relationship between difficulty thinking or concentrating and academic service use in NCAA student-athletes. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 10, 309-323. doi: 10.1123/jcsp.2015-0028.
- Wesselmann, E. D., VanderDrift, L. E., & Agnew, C. R. (2016). Religious commitment: An interdependence approach. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 8, 35-45. doi: 10.1037/rel0000024.
- Hoffman, A. M., Agnew, C. R., VanderDrift, L. E., & Kulzick, R. (2015). Norms, diplomatic alternatives and the social psychology of war support. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 59, 3-28. doi: 10.1177/0022002713498706.
- Lehmiller, J. J., Graziano, W. G., & VanderDrift, L. E. (2014). Peer influence and attraction to interracial romantic relationships. Social Sciences, 3, 115-127. doi: 10.3390/socsci3010115.
- VanderDrift, L. E., Agnew, C. R., & Wilson, J. E. (2014). Spanish version of the Investment Model Scale. Personal Relationships, 21, 110-124. doi: 10.1111/pere.12016.
- Fingerman, K. L., Gilligan, M., VanderDrift, L. E., & Pitzer, L. (2012). In-law relationships before and after marriage. Research in Human Development, 9, 106-125. doi: 10.1080/15427609.2012.680843.
- VanderDrift, L. E., Lehmiller, J. J., & Kelly, J. R. (2012). Commitment in friends with benefits relationships: Implications for relational and safe-sex outcomes. Personal Relationships, 19, 1-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2010.01324.x.
- Fingerman, K. L., VanderDrift, L. E., Dotterer, A., Birditt, K. S., & Zarit, S. (2011). Support to aging parents and grown children in Black and White families. The Gerontologist, 54, 441-452. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnq114