Trust and responsiveness in strain-test situations: A dyadic perspective

Sandra L. Shallcross, Jeff Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


In this behavioral observation study, the authors tested predictions derived from various trust models concerning how individuals who are high vs. low in chronic trust perceive and behave during strain-test discussions with their romantic partners. Partners in 92 married/cohabitating couples identified and discussed 2 major strain-test issues in their relationship. Each partner (when in the role of asker) identified something she or he really wanted to do or accomplish that required the greatest sacrifice by his or her partner (in the responding role). Each videotaped discussion was then rated by trained coders. The results revealed that (a) high trust responders were more accommodating during the strain-test discussions than low trust responders; (b) high trust askers were more open/collaborative with the accommodation they received during the discussions than low trust askers; (c) high trust askers overestimated the amount of accommodation they received from their responding partners (relative to coder's ratings); (d) when in discussions that were more threatening, high trust askers showed a correction effect by reporting larger preto postdiscussion increases in state trust; and (e) when asked to make larger sacrifices, high trust responders showed a similar correction effect by displaying greater accommodation. These findings are discussed in terms of mutual responsiveness processes in relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1044
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Accommodation
  • Dyads
  • Interdependence
  • Responsiveness
  • Strain tests
  • Trust


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