An anonymous contribution:
Growing up in a well rounded family, I never noticed a connection between verbal aggressiveness, commitment, and my parents’ self esteem. I personally perceived my parents as a committed couple that had a normal amount of verbal aggression.
In a survey of 76 heterosexual couples from a Midwestern university, researchers looked at the connection between these variables. To qualify for the study one had to be at least 19 years old and in a romantic relationship for at least a month. Specifically, the survey looked at:
- Verbal aggression, which occurs when a person intentionally attacks another with the intention to humiliate or embarrass a person
- Self-esteem, the value one puts in themselves and how they view themselves
- Commitment, which involves how much one perceived their partner to be committed to them and how committed one is to their partner
The researchers found that self-esteem and commitment levels correlated positively. If a person thought that their significant other had high levels of commitment to them, then their self-esteem tended to be higher. This went both ways. If one’s self-esteem was high then their commitment to the relationship was high as well. It was also found that if one perceives their partner as being very committed their self-esteem was high also. Results showed that self-esteem and verbal aggression were closely related. As one’s self-esteem went down, one’s tendency to use verbal aggression went up. Finally, it was found that one’s own commitment to the relationship and the perceived commitment of the partner were not correlated to verbal aggression. After all the research was finished and analyzed, researchers found that there still needed to be more studies done on sociometer theory and its validity.
This study provides several key insights. If you want your relationship to be relatively stress free, you should take your partners self-esteem into consideration. By showing high levels of commitment to your partner, you can help raise their self-esteem. By raising your partner’s self-esteem, you can reduce their tendency to use verbal aggression resulting in a less stressful relationship. After reading this study, I personally would try my hardest to let my partner know that I was committed to them. By doing this, I feel that it would help raise my partner’s faith and commitment to me while simultaneously raising their self esteem. All of these things would help make the relationship potentially last longer and more satisfying.
Rill, L., Baiocchi, E., Hopper, M., Denker, K., & Olson, L.N. (2009). Exploration of the relationship between self-esteem, commitment, and verbal aggressiveness in romantic dating relationships. Communication Reports, 22(2), 102-113.