Relationship Self-Regulation and Relationship Quality: The Moderating Influence of Gender


gender, relationship satisfaction, relationship self-regulation, relationship stability


Relationship quality, as measured by relationship satisfaction and stability, is important to understanding how happy a couple is and the chances their relationship will end. Prior research has linked two aspects of relationship self-regulation (RSR), effort and strategies to improve a relationship, to increased levels of satisfaction and stability, but has not yet examined if gender moderates this association. Our paper addresses how both aspects of RSR are associated with increases in satisfaction and stability for male and female partners using data from the RELATionship Evaluation Survey. In the sample of 8006 men and women in a variety of romantic unions, we find that both aspects of RSR are positively associated with both aspects of relationship quality, but that this association is stronger for women’s reports of satisfaction than men’s. Additionally, relationship effort has a slightly stronger association with stability for women than men. Both clinical and research applications of these findings are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Shafer, K., James, S.L. & Larson, J.H. Relationship Self-Regulation and Relationship Quality: The Moderating Influence of Gender. J Child Fam Stud 25, 1145–1154 (2016).

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Child and Family Studies




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor