This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Romantic relationship investment and commitment: An expansion of the Investment Model conceptualization




Dutta, Nicole

Type of Degree





Objective: Rusbult (1980) postulated that the endowment of personal contributions to a romantic relationship increases relationship commitment. This two-study project developed and psychometrically tested a theoretically-informed, multifactorial measure of relationship investment and examined loss aversion and observed investment reward value as potential causal mechanisms of the investment-commitment link. Method: One hundred and forty-nine participants completed a pilot study on Mechanical Turk, which was composed of self-report items assessing investment, loss aversion, observed investment reward value, commitment, and associated constructs. Four hundred and ninety-nine participants completed a similarly designed follow up study to gather data for Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Results: The pilot study revealed that relationship investment was comprised of four factors: acceptance of communal cost, resource non-portability, and intrinsic and extrinsic expected reward value. Further, analyses revealed that commitment was best measured as a global construct. The follow-up study echoed these findings and also demonstrated a pathway wherein investment led was associated with greater loss aversion, which in turn was related to enhanced commitment. Observed investment reward value, however, was associated with investment alone. Conclusions: Overall, the findings supported Rusbult’s (1980) original theory that loss aversion drives the investmentcommitment association. However, these studies supply additional information about the multifactorial nature of investment, the factor structure of commitment, and the measurement of loss aversion. Further, they highlight the relationship-building features of investment and suggest that these resources may represent some of the most essential components of relationship endurance. Keywords: romantic relationships, investment model, relationship investment, loss aversion, relationship commitment