Positive and negative: Partner derogation and enhancement differentially related to relationship satisfaction

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Previous research on positive illusions has treated negatively biased views of one's romantic partner as existing along the same continuum as positively biased views. However, research on the greater psychological impact of negative events suggests that overly negative views of one's partner (derogation) may have a stronger association with relationship outcomes than overly positive views (enhancement). In this study, 353 couples completed 2 measures of relationship satisfaction and rated themselves and their partners on 3 trait domains. For most domains, with the exception of interpersonal virtues, derogating one's partner was a stronger predictor of satisfaction than enhancing one's partner. Being the object of derogation or enhancement had little association with relationship satisfaction, with some exceptions.

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