Conditional regard in close relationships Academic Article uri icon


  • People in relationships with others often try to influence them by making their regard contingent on other's enactment of specific behaviors. We present findings suggesting that while conditional regard might lead to enactment of expected behaviors, this practice has several psychological costs. We refer to four types of costs:(1) Stressful and conflicted internalization of socializing agent expectations,(2) rigid and low-quality performance,(3) poor well-being, and (4) poor relationship quality with the other. Moreover, our research suggests that in the long run providing more warmth and acceptance contingent on the others compliance with the agent's expectations (ie conditional positive regard), is as harmful as withdrawing regard when others do not comply with the agent's expectations (ie conditional negative regard).

publication date

  • January 1, 2012