Date of Award

Summer 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Barbara Winstead

Committee Member

Joy A. Cooley

Committee Member

Valerian J. Derlega

Committee Member

Desi Shipp Hacker

Committee Member

Michael P. Nichols


The present study investigated relationship variables related to unwanted pursuit post dissolution of a romantic relationship. Online surveys were administered to 277 undergraduate and graduate students from a large southeastern university. Participants completed questionnaires that assessed levels of idealization, satisfaction, perceptions of alternatives to the relationship, investment size, commitment, and unwanted pursuit. These variables are often essential in romantic involvements, and contribute greatly to the continuation of a relationship. Additional measures of attachment, self-esteem, neuroticism, and jealousy were included to control for their potential effect on pursuit. The sample consisted of individuals who engaged in the pursuit of a former partner after their romantic relationship ended. Although it was predicted that individuals would be more likely to pursue if they reported higher levels of idealization, satisfaction, investments, and commitment while the relationship was intact, results did not yield support. However, as predicted, there was a negative correlation between relationship alternatives and pursuit, such that pursuers who believed they had fewer alternatives to the relationship were more likely to engage in unwanted pursuit behaviors.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.