Personality and dyadic adjustment: Who you think your partner is really matters

Rebecca L. Brock, Lilian Dindo, Leonard J. Simms, Lee Anna Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Research has demonstrated consistently that a broad range of personality traits affect intimate relationship quality; however, most of this research has used only self-ratings of personality. More recently, researchers have acknowledged that how partners perceive one another may also influence intimate relationships. The primary goal of the present study was to determine the predictive utility of partner-ratings of personality above and beyond self-ratings for explaining dyadic adjustment in a community sample of committed heterosexual couples (N = 87). This research was embedded within a Big Three model of personality, using both self- and other-rating measures that tap the core of these broad dimensions of personality and other specific trait facets across the normal-abnormal spectrum. An actor-partner interdependence model (APIM) was used, which estimates both actor (self) and partner effects, and models interdependence that is inherent in dyadic data. Both men and women reported greater relationship discord to the extent that they rated their partners as high in negative temperament and disinhibition, and low in positive temperament, controlling for selfratings of personality. Further, partner-ratings of numerous other specific trait scales were uniquely associated with dyadic adjustment, providing considerable detailed information about personalityadjustment relations beyond the core of the 3 broad trait dimensions. Results of the present study highlight the importance of routinely assessing both self- and partner-ratings of personality, from both partners of a dyad, to explain intimate-relationship quality more fully and accurately. We discuss the implications of this research with regard to how it may inform treatment of relationship discord.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-613
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 21 2016


  • APIM
  • Big Three model
  • Dyadic adjustment
  • Partner-rated personality
  • SNAP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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