Extant literature suggests not only that social relationships are one context in which individuals may pursue personal strivings (Rusbult, Finkel & Kumashiro, 2009a), but also that individuals may assess their marital satisfaction based on their goal-striving successes (Li & Fung, 2011). Indeed, the degree to which partners appear to be responsive to one another's goals and ideals, termed partner responsiveness, has been linked with personal and relational well-being (Reis, Clark & Holmes, 2004; Rusbult et al., 2009a). Virtues such as commitment, trust, and compassion have been theoretically and empirically associated with upward cycles of partner responsiveness and personal and relational well-being (Canavello & Crocker, 2010; Reis & Gable, 2015). Partner responsiveness has also been consistently linked with goal attainment and well-being in the context of social relationships (Drigotas, 2002). The present study sought to bridge these two literatures by examining the potential mediating role of partner responsiveness between virtues and goal attainment. Data for the present study came from a cross-sectional survey of 840 heterosexual married couples living across the United States. Hypotheses were analyzed using an actor-partner interdependencemodel (Kenny, Kashy & Cook, 2006). Results suggested that partner responsiveness partially mediated actor effects of virtue on goal attainment, but fully mediated the partner effects of virtue on goal attainment. Gender effects emerged such that the direct effects of virtues on goal attainment were stronger for husbands than for wives. These results indicate that within-dyads (Kenny et al., 2006) gender difference variables (e.g. percent of family income earned) are likely to account for these differences. Study limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



Date Submitted


Document Type





virtues, partner responsiveness, personal strivings

Included in

Psychology Commons