Why do close partners snoop? Predictors of intrusive behavior in newlywed couples

Authors

  • CHARLOTTE D. W. VINKERS,

    Corresponding author
    1. VU University Amsterdam
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    • Charlotte D. W. Vinkers and Catrin Finkenauer, Department of Social Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Skyler T. Hawk, Department of Social Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    • Vinkers is now at the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Hawk is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Research Centre Adolescent Development, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

  • CATRIN FINKENAUER,

    1. VU University Amsterdam
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    • Charlotte D. W. Vinkers and Catrin Finkenauer, Department of Social Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Skyler T. Hawk, Department of Social Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

  • SKYLER T. HAWK

    1. University of Amsterdam
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    • Charlotte D. W. Vinkers and Catrin Finkenauer, Department of Social Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Skyler T. Hawk, Department of Social Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    • Vinkers is now at the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Hawk is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Research Centre Adolescent Development, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


  • This research was supported by a grant to the second author from the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (452-05-322).

Charlotte D. W. Vinkers, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Universiteit Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 1, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands, e-mail: C.D.W.Vinkers@uu.nl.

Abstract

Existing research shows that intrusive behavior has detrimental consequences for relationships. Surprisingly, little is known about why close relationship partners snoop. This study examined why romantic partners engage in intrusive behavior among newlywed couples in the Netherlands. As predicted, the results showed that perceiving a lack of partner disclosure is linked to intrusive behavior, and importantly, that trust moderates this link. Only when people did not trust their partner were their perceptions of partners' low disclosure associated with intrusive behavior. When people trusted their partner, perceived partner disclosure was not associated with intrusive behavior. These results help to explain why people snoop and highlight the importance of trust as a powerful protective buffer against intrusive behavior in close relationships.

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