Optimism, Social Support and Relationship Satisfaction in Couples

Optimism is an important determinant of social functioning. In intimate relationships, optimism is associated with higher relationship agreement and greater relationship satisfaction. Previous studies suggest that the positive relationship outcomes are based on the optimists' greater anticipation to receive social support from their partners. However, the question arises whether the anticipated support by optimists reflects the actually provided support by the partner or is merely an optimistically biased perception.

The aim of the present project is to closer analyze the mechanisms that mediate the positive relationship effects of optimism by focusing on actual social support exchanges from the recipient's as well as the provider's perspective. Thus, we investigate whether optimists and their romantic partners are more satisfied with their relationships, and if so, whether this is due to actual social support exchanges.

Dr. Manja Vollmann, University of Konstanz
Dipl.-Psych. Katja Antoniw, University of Greifswald