When goal sharing produces support that is not caring

Heather Barry Kappes, Patrick E. Shrout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Four studies used experimental and correlational methods to investigate the effect of a "partner-achievement goal," or a personal goal for a relationship partner's successful achievement. This goal led support providers to offer unhelpful support about how to play a computer game (Study 1). It also predicted poor achievement for dieting support recipients (Study 2). The effects of partner-achievement goals were moderated by recipient expectations of success and mediated by recipient effort. Recipients with low expectations of their own success requested that their provider partners with partner-achievement goals refrain from offering them support (Study 3); they also invested less time studying Latin grammar and learned fewer Latin words over one week (Study 4). Together, these findings highlight the unique behavioral consequences of partner-achievement goals for both members of a relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-673
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • achievement
  • goals
  • partners
  • relationships
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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