Linking Maintenance Strategies to Relationship Development and Disengagement: A Reconceptualization

Laura K. Guerrero, Sylvie V. Eloy, Alisa I. Wabnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Maintenance strategies are conceptualized as vehicles by which romantic partners can change, as well as preserve, their relationships. A longitudinal approach is used to investigate the idea that daters’ perceptions of proactive/constructive maintenance will affect four possible relational outcomes - escalation, stability, de-escalation and termination. Results indicate that perceived frequent use of proactive/constructive maintenance strategies is associated with stability or escalation, while perceived infrequent use of these strategies is related to de-escalation or termination. Results also demonstrate that perceptions of openness and assurances increase over time in escalating relationships, while perceptions of positivity, assurances and the sharing of tasks decrease in de-escalating relationships. These findings support the contention that proactive/constructive maintenance strategies operate not only to stabilize relationships, but also to change them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Linking Maintenance Strategies to Relationship Development and Disengagement: A Reconceptualization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this