Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Walter Buboltz


The present study investigated the multivariate relationships among gender role conflict, psychological reactance, and relationship beliefs. Because intimate relationships have the potential to affect lives in many ways, it is important to examine factors that contribute to successful relationships. Although previous research has linked these constructs, no research exists that includes all three. The final sample included 346 undergraduate males and females who completed a demographic questionnaire, the Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS; O'Neil, Helms, Gable, David, & Wrightsman, 1986), Therapeutic Reactance Scale (TRS; Dowd, Milne, & Wise, 1991), and Relationship Beliefs Inventory (RBI; Eidelson & Epstein, 1981). The research hypotheses were tested using canonical correlation and hierarchical regression. The results of the study indicate relationships among the variables. Significant gender differences led to separate hypothesis testing for males and females. Males and females demonstrated a relationship between gender role conflict and maladaptive relationship beliefs. Females, but not males, showed relationships between psychological reactance and maladaptive relationship beliefs, and gender role conflict and psychological reactance. Additionally, psychological reactance was shown to moderate the relationship between gender role conflict and maladaptive relationship beliefs. The current research added to the body of knowledge that exists for these constructs and has important implications for therapists, educators, and individuals involved in intimate interpersonal relationships. For instance, therapists who work with couples can use the results to assist their clients in understanding the factors contributing to maladaptive beliefs about their relationships, thus empowering them to alter detrimental or inappropriate beliefs. College counselors, faculty, and administrators can use this knowledge to better understand interpersonal issues that might contribute to students' failure in the classroom. Partners in relationships can use this information to discern elements of their dysfunctional relationship beliefs, leading to more satisfying and lasting relationships. The results of the study might also be useful in providing suggestions for further research.