Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

James M. Henson

Committee Member

Valerian Derlega

Committee Member

Miguel Padilla


This study examined the relationships among autonomy, anticipated regret, decision-making, and dedication and constraint commitment of college students in romantic relationships. Two models were specified, with the first assessing autonomy as a predictor of dedication and deciding as a mediator. The second model assessed anticipated regret as a predictor of constraint and deciding again as a mediator. Participants were 267 undergraduates from a Mid-Atlantic region university, were recruited through a participant pool, and completed the study voluntarily or for course credit. To be included in analysis, participants had to be in a current dating, cohabiting, or married relationship for 30 or more days; the relationship partner had to be the opposite gender of that reported by the participant; and the participant and the current partner had to live within a defined close proximity to each other. Results showed that autonomy was positively related to decision-making, though autonomy was not significantly related to dedication. Decision-making also did not predict dedication, suggesting that deciding did not partially mediate the relationship between autonomy and dedication. Results also showed that anticipated regret predicted constraint, but the direction was unexpectedly negative. Anticipated regret negatively predicted deciding. Deciding, however, did not predict constraint, suggesting that deciding did not partially mediate the relationship between anticipated regret and constraint. The findings are discussed in light of supportive literature and alternative explanations. Limitations and future directions are also discussed.


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