Nonmarital romantic relationship commitment and leave behavior: The mediating role of dissolution consideration

Laura E. van der Drift, Christopher R. Agnew, Juan E. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Two studies investigated the process by which individuals in nonmarital romantic relationships characterized by low commitment move toward enacting leave behaviors. Predictions based on the behavioral, goal, and implementation intention literatures were tested using a measure of dissolution consideration developed for this research. Dissolution consideration assesses how salient relationship termination is for an individual while one's relationship is intact. Study 1 developed and validated a measure of dissolution consideration and Study 2 was a longitudinal test of the utility of dissolution consideration in predicting the enactment of leave behaviors. Results indicated that dissolution consideration mediates the association between commitment and enacting leave behaviors, is associated with taking more immediate action, and provides unique explanatory power in leave behavior beyond the effect of commitment alone. Collectively, the findings suggest that dissolution consideration is an intermediate step between commitment and stay/leave behavior in close relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1220-1232
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Commitment
  • Dissolution
  • Dissolution consideration
  • Nonmarital romantic relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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