Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 37–49 | Cite as

When Romantic Partners’ Goals Conflict: Effects on Relationship Quality and Subjective Well-Being

  • Judith GereEmail author
  • Ulrich Schimmack
Research Paper


Most studies have explored goal pursuit from an intraindividual perspective; however, it is becoming increasingly clear that people’s relationships influence many aspects of goal pursuit (Fitzsimons and Finkel in Curr Direct Psychol Sci 19(2):101–105, 2010). The current study examined the influence of goal conflict between romantic partners on relationship quality and the subjective well-being of the partners. In a sample of 105 dating couples (N = 210) both partners provided ratings of their subjective well-being, relationship quality, and the degree of conflict they experience when trying to pursue their goals. Structural equation modeling was used to conduct dyadic analyses on the variables. Results showed that both partners’ reports of higher goal conflict were directly associated with lower relationship quality and lower subjective well-being. Lower relationship quality was, in turn, also associated with lower subjective well-being. Furthermore, one partner’s report of goal conflict was indirectly related to the other partner’s subjective well-being through relationship quality. These findings indicate that relational influences on goal pursuit have implications not only for goal pursuit but also for well-being and relationship quality.


Goal conflict Goal pursuit Interdependence theory Romantic relationships Relationship quality Subjective well-being 



This research was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council standard research grant awarded to Ulrich Schimmack.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Toronto MississaugaMississaugaCanada

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