Regulation processes in intimate relationships: The role of ideal standards

Nickola C. Overall, Garth J.O. Fletcher, Jeffry A. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


This research investigated the consistency between partner perceptions and ideal standards (ideal-perception consistency) and the partner regulation attempts of 200 individuals involved in relationships (Study 1) and 62 heterosexual couples (Study 2). As predicted, greater regulation attempts were associated with lower ideal-perception consistency, and these links operated within 3 pivotal mate-evaluation dimensions and were moderated by perceived regulation success. Ideal-perception consistency also mediated the relation between partner regulation and relationship quality, and cross-lagged analyses suggested that ideal consistency and regulation influenced each other over time. Finally, stronger partner regulation was generally associated with more negative self-evaluations and more self-regulation by the targeted partner. These novel results support and extend the Ideal Standards Model (J. A. Simpson, G. J. O. Fletcher, & L. Campbell, 2001). Copyright by the 2006 American Psychological Association.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-685
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Ideal discrepancy
  • Ideal standards
  • Partner regulation
  • Relationship improvement
  • Self evaluation
  • Self regulation

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