The mating sociometer and attractive others: A double-edged sword in romantic relationships

Phillip Sean Kavanagh, Garth J.O. Fletcher, Bruce J. Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Eighty-one participants were recruited to test the sensitivity of the mating sociometer to mate-value feedback in the context of ongoing intimate relationships. Experiences of social rejection/acceptance by attractive opposite-sex confederates were manipulated. The effects of this manipulation on self-esteem, relationship satisfaction and commitment, perceptions of dating alternatives, and friendship-dedication were assessed. Social rejection/acceptance by members of the opposite sex altered relationship satisfaction and commitment; this causal link was amplified by changes in state self-esteem; and these effects were specific to intimate relationships and did not generalize to friendship-dedication. This research supports a domain-specific conceptualization of sociometer theory, extending the theory in important directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-141
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2014


  • friendship dedication
  • relationship commitment
  • relationship satisfaction
  • romantic rejection
  • self-esteem
  • sociometer theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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