A comparison of concurrent and retrospective trajectories of commitment to wed

Brian G. Ogolsky, Catherine A. Surra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


How well do dating partners recall the development of commitment to wed and what factors modify recall? Motivations underlying recall suggest retrospections should demonstrate one of two patterns, developmental change or amplification. A random sample of 464 partners in heterosexual relationships graphed changes in commitment to wed monthly for 8 months and then graphed them from memory. Results supported the developmental change hypothesis; retrospective reports of commitment initially were lower than concurrent reports and increased more steeply over time. This effect was moderated by changes in relationship stage, with advancement showing accuracy of recall, maintenance showing developmental change, and regression showing amplification. Accuracy of recall depends upon relationship history, which has implications for relationship outcomes and reliability of retrospective reports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-639
Number of pages20
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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