This study is currently closed. The researchers were interested in examining how self esteem is related to people’s attraction to potential alternative partners and how threats to one’s relationship might affect people differently, depending on their level of self esteem. Participants in this study were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions. Participants in the "relationship threat condition" were asked to list 10 reasons why their partner might consider leaving them. Participants in the control condition were asked to perform a neutral task, listing 10 decorative items or pieces of furniture in their bedroom.
The goal of this research was to see how relationship threat might affect participants' interest in alternative dating partners and their own feelings of commitment toward the relationship. In addition, self-esteem was measured prior to the threat manipulation. Past research has shown that those with low self-esteem often respond more negatively to relationship threats by pulling away from their partner. However, in the current study the manipulation was not effective in inducing these feelings in participants.