Consideration of Future Consequences Influences Involvement in Romantic Partners’ Health

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Health Communication


© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This study examined the influence of people’s short-term (e.g., convenience) and long-term (e.g., maintain weight) motives toward their romantic partner’s health on their provision of health-related social control and autonomy support for their partner’s health behaviors, as well as their indifference toward their romantic partner’s health. Data from a sample of cohabiting couples (N = 212) were analyzed using multilevel path models. Results showed having more long-term motives for a partner’s health lead to increased provisions of autonomy support and social control, and less indifference toward the partner’s health, especially when the partner had lower long-term health motives themselves. In contrast, having more short-term motives for a partner’s health was associated with providing less social control and autonomy support and showing more indifference toward the partner’s health. Thus, people motivated to improve their partner’s long-term health engage in more behaviors meant to improve their romantic partner’s health choices, particularly when the partner has low motivation to regulate their own health behaviors.

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