"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference" : further exploration of attitude alignment in the context of close relationship dyads /
Drover, Hilary D.
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One hundred and five primarily Caucasian undergraduate couples were tested to study the phenomenon of attitude alignment, or the way in which individuals change their opinions to achieve greater attitudinal congruence with their romantic partners, and the hypotheses that relationship closeness, affect, attachment, social desirability, and centrality are each related to attitude alignment for individuals in close couples. The couples filled out an attitude questionnaire consisting of 50 issues in which they were asked to give their attitude on a scale from 1 to 9 as well as to rate the centrality, or importance, of that issue on a scale from 1 to 9. Before discussing four of these issues with each other - 2 were more central to the man and less central, or peripheral, to the woman, whereas the other 2 were central to the woman and peripheral to the man - the individuals completed established measures of relationship closeness, affect, attachment, and social desirability. The couples then filled out the identical attitudes questionnaire again, and their answers on the four discussion issues were compared to their prediscussion answers to determine whether attitude alignment had occurred. There were two experimental groups: a social desirability group, where the couples were told it was natural and normal to disagree with their partners, and a control group. Results indicated that attitude alignment did significantly occur across all couples, but most other variables - including centrality, relationship closeness, and affect - did not predict attitude alignment behaviour. As well, the social desirability experimental groups did not significantly differ on attitude alignment behaviours, but higher scores on the social desirability scale, specifically self-deception, significantly predicted higher attitude alignment scores across all couples. Large differences between individuals' frequency.