Agreeableness and Close Relationships: Is it Trust That Really Matters?
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Three correlational studies and 2 experiments examined the influence of agreeable people’s trust on their close relationships. Studies 1-3 employed correlational methods to examine the association between agreeableness and interpersonal trust (felt security; Study 1) and the applicability of the dependence regulation model (Murray, Holmes, & Griffin, 2000) to the romantic relationships of agreeable people (Studies 2 & 3). Studies 4 and 5 employed experimental methods that manipulated felt security (trust) to examine how relationship threats differentially affect agreeable versus antagonistic people (those low in agreeableness). Results indicated that not only does felt security consistently mediate the association between agreeableness and important relationship quality variables, but that this is a causal association. That is, these studies provide evidence that agreeable people have better relationships than antagonistic people because they are chronically more trusting, and hence, less prone to seeing signs of rejection where none exists.