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Men's and women's reactions to fair and unfair treatment in relationship conflict

Authors

  • ESTHER S. KLUWER,

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    1. Utrecht University, The Netherlands
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    • Esther S. Kluwer, Maureen Tumewu, and Kees van den Bos, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

  • MAUREEN TUMEWU,

    1. Utrecht University, The Netherlands
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    • Esther S. Kluwer, Maureen Tumewu, and Kees van den Bos, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

    • Maureen Tumewu is now at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, The Hague.

  • KEES VAN DEN BOS

    1. Utrecht University, The Netherlands
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    • Esther S. Kluwer, Maureen Tumewu, and Kees van den Bos, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


  • This research was supported by two grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO): an Aspasia grant awarded to Esther Kluwer (015.01.008) and a VICI grant awarded to Kees van den Bos (453.03.603). We thank Inge Wissink for her assistance in the data collection. The first two authors contributed equally to this research; their order of authorship is alphabetical.

Esther Kluwer, Utrecht University, Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, P.O. Box 80.140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands, e-mail: e.s.kluwer@uu.nl.

Abstract

Abstract

Evidence of gender differences in reactions to experienced fair and unfair treatment in relationship conflict was examined in 4 studies among dating, cohabiting, and married participants in The Netherlands. Using a critical incidents method and a scenario, this research provided convergent results suggesting that the relationship between fairness of treatment and affective feelings or relationship satisfaction is stronger for women than for men. This gender difference disappeared under conditions of high relationship commitment. Furthermore, men who identified strongly with their relationship showed stronger reactions to fair treatment than men who identified weakly with their relationships. Finally, the manipulation of relationship salience led to heightened sensitivity to fairness of treatment among men, but not among women.

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