Self, partner, and relationship motivations for healthy and unhealthy behaviors
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Hanover College, USA
Texas State University, USA
Submission date: 2016-09-06
Final revision date: 2016-11-21
Acceptance date: 2016-11-22
Online publication date: 2017-02-01
Publication date: 2017-01-26
Health Psychology Report 2017;5(3):219-226
This study merges two theoretical paradigms: self-determination theory and interdependence theory. The primary objective was to examine whether people in relationships are motivated to enact healthy or unhealthy behaviors based on personal (i.e., autonomous) or interpersonal (controlled) motives.

Participants and procedure
We tested the sources of healthy and unhealthy motivation in a cross-sectional, dyadic survey, collecting data from 243 couples in romantic relationships. Survey items assessed sources of healthy and unhealthy motivational influence, including the self, partner, and relationship, in conjunction with relationship satisfaction and well-being. Data were analyzed according to the Actor Partner Interdependence Model to examine intrapersonal and interpersonal associations between variables.
Healthy and unhealthy behavior motivation appears to be a relational, rather than individual construct. Partner healthy motivation was positively associated with individuals’ relationship satisfaction. For individuals who reported more unhealthy relationship motivations, relationship satisfaction and well-being were lower. There were no significant associations for self motivations.

The findings suggest that relational partners and the romantic relationship itself are important in understanding the dimensions of health motivation for people in relationships. We conclude that the romantic relationship context impacts health maintenance, supporting the merging of personal and interpersonal motivations for health behaviors.
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