Motivations for caregiving in adult intimate relationships: influences on caregiving behavior and relationship functioning.
This study identified and examined the correlates of specific motivations for caregiving in romantic couples (N = 194 couples). At Time 1, couple members completed measures assessing motivations for caregiving, the quality of caregiving that occurs in the relationship, and personal and relationship characteristics that might influence caregiving motivations. Relationship functioning was then assessed 2 to 3 months later. Results revealed that (a) there are a number of distinct motivations for providing and for not providing care to one's partner, (b) the motivations are associated with various personal features of the caregiver and the recipient, (c) the caregiver's perceptions of the relationship influence his or her caregiving motives, (d) different motivations for caregiving predict different patterns of caregiving behavior, and (e) responsive caregiving predicts the recipient's perceptions of healthy relationship functioning both immediately and over time. Implications of identifying the motivations that promote or inhibit the provision of responsive support in intimate relationships are discussed.