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date: 24 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Romantic relationships often require people to balance the motivation to seek connection with partners with the motivation to avoid rejection. In this chapter, we review research examining the regulatory processes that allow people to manage this prevalent dilemma. We begin by outlining the nature of interpersonal risk and describe the need for a self-regulatory system that balances pursuit of connectedness or self-protection goals afforded by risky situations. We then review research demonstrating the operation of this system, highlighting the role of chronic trust in facilitating cognitive and behavioral responses to situated risk. Following this, we elucidate the psychological mechanisms underlying this system by explaining how automatic and controlled processes can interact to direct these motivational responses. We conclude by identifying avenues for future research, focusing on how greater integration with the existing social cognition literature can inform our understanding of the relationship-specific risk regulation processes.

Keywords: risk regulation, trust, self-esteem, motivation, relationships

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