Two distinct emotional experiences in romantic relationships: Effects of perceptions regarding approach of intimacy and avoidance of conflict

Jean Philippe Laurenceau, Adam B. Troy, Charles S. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


This study examined how perceived position and velocity regarding approach and avoidance in romantic relationships relate to affective experiences. The authors hypothesized that perceived progress toward intimacy would predict positive affect and that perceived movement toward conflict would predict anxious affect. Ninety-two romantic couples recorded perceived levels of, and perceived changes in, both intimacy and conflict twice daily throughout 10 consecutive days using electronic palm-top devices. Multilevel modeling demonstrated that perceived increase in intimacy related to positive affect above and beyond perceptions of intimacy, conflict, and changes in conflict, for both male and female partners. Perceived increase in conflict related to anxious affect above and beyond perceptions of conflict, intimacy, and changes in intimacy, but only among male partners. Findings support a dual-process view of these feelings in romantic relationships and suggest that increases in positive feelings in close relationships depend on enhancing intimacy rather than on decreasing conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1123-1133
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005



  • Approach
  • Avoidance
  • Computerized diary methodology
  • Conflict
  • Emotion
  • Intimacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology

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