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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Perceptions of Partner Drinking Problems, Regulation Strategies and Relationship Outcomes

The current research evaluates how perceptions of one’s partner’s drinking problem relate to attempts to regulate partner behavior and relationship functioning, and whether this varies by perceptions of one’s own drinking. New measures are offered for Thinking about your Partner’s Drinking (TPD) and Partner Management Strategies (PMS).

Participants included 702 undergraduates who had been in a romantic relationship for at least three months. Participants completed an online survey assessing perceptions of problematic drinking for one’s self and partner, ways in which attempts were made to regulate or restrain their partner’s drinking, relationship outcomes (i.e., satisfaction, commitment, trust, and need fulfillment), and alcohol use and consequences for self and partner.

Factor analyses supported a single factor for Thinking about your Partner’s Drinking (TPD) and two factors for the Partner Management Strategies (PMS) scale (i.e., punishment and reward).

Results using structural equation modeling indicated that perceiving one’s partner to have a drinking problem was associated with lower relationship functioning. Further, this association was mediated by strategies using punishment aimed at changing one’s partner’s drinking, but was not mediated by strategies using rewards.

Finally, moderation results suggested that this relationship was not as detrimental for participants who perceived they also had an alcohol problem.

In sum, perceiving one’s partner to have a drinking problem was associated with relationship problems through punishing regulation strategies, and was weaker among individuals who also perceived themselves to have a drinking problem.

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