Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Caryl Rusbult

Caryl Rusbult

[Note: Professor Caryl Rusbult died January 27, 2010, due to the consequences of cancer. Social Psychology Network is maintaining this profile for visitors who wish to learn more about Professor Rusbult's work.

To honor Professor Rusbult's dedication to training top scholars, the Relationship Researchers Interest Group and the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology have launched the Caryl E. Rusbult Young Investigator Award.

Well-wishers can send a check that should be made out to the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology, marking Caryl Rusbult Award on the check, and sending it to: David Dunning, Department of Psychology, Uris Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

International well-wishers can either make a money order in US dollars or can FAX their credit card information, including your name, the card number, CVV2 number (the number on the back of the card) privately to the Foundation at +1 607 255 8433, Attention: Christie Marvin. Please mention the Caryl Rusbult Young Investigator Award in the message. Under NO circumstances should this information be emailed.]


Dr. Caryl Rusbult received her B.A. in Sociology from UCLA in 1974, and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1978.

Most of her work concerns motivation and behavior in close relationships. Her research concerns commitment processes in close relationships, and examines both (a) the determinants of commitment and (b) the consequences of commitment, including (i) tendencies to accommodate rather than retaliate when a partner behaves poorly, (ii) willingness to sacrifice for the good of a partner and relationship, (iii) forgiveness of partner acts of betrayal, (iv) inclinations to derogate or drive away tempting alternatives, and (v) positive illusion, or tendencies to regard one's relationship as better than (and not as bad as) other relationships.

Her research has been funded by the NSF, NIMH, Templeton Foundation, and Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research. She received the 1991-92 New Contribution Award from the International Society for the Study of Personal Relationships, as well as the 1991 Reuben Hill Award from the National Council on Family Relations. She has served as associate editor for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (1990 to 1994) and the Encyclopedia of Psychology (1996 to 2000), and has been elected to the boards of several national and international organizations (e.g., Society of Experimental Social Psychologists, International Society for the Study of Personal Relationships).

She has taught graduate seminars and undergraduate courses on interpersonal processes and close relationships, interdependence structure and processes, research methods, introductory social psychology, and introductory psychology (along with other, less frequently taught courses such as organizational behavior and the psychology of human development).

Primary Interests:

  • Close Relationships
  • Gender Psychology
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Person Perception
  • Self and Identity

Books:

Journal Articles:

  • Agnew, C. R., Van Lange, P. A. M., Rusbult, C. E., & Langston, C. A. (1998). Cognitive interdependence: Commitment and the mental representation of close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 939-954.
  • Arriaga, X. B., & Rusbult, C. E. (1998). Standing in my partner’s shoes: Partner perspective-taking and reactions to accommodative dilemmas. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 9, 927-948.
  • Drigotas, S. M., Rusbult, C. E., & Verette, J. (1999). Level of commitment, mutuality of commitment, and couple well-being. Personal Relationships, 6, 389-409.
  • Drigotas, S. M., Rusbult, C. E., Wieselquist, J., & Whitton, S. (1999) Close partner as sculptor of the ideal self: Behavioral affirmation and the Michelangeno phenomenon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 293-323.
  • Foster, C. A., & Rusbult, C. E. (1999). Injustice and powerseeking. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 834-849.
  • Martz, J. M., Verette, J., Arriaga, X. B., Slovik, L. F., Cox, C. L., & Rusbult, C. E. (1998). Positive illusion in close relationships. Personal Relationships, 5, 159-181.
  • Rusbult, C. E., & Martz, J. M. (1995). Remaining in an abusive relationship: An investment model analysis of nonvoluntary commitment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 558-571.
  • Rusbult, C. E., Martz, J. M., & Agnew, C. R. (1998). The investment model scale: Measuring commitment level, satisfaction level, quality of alternatives, and investment size. Personal Relationships, 5, 357-391.
  • Rusbult, C. E., Onizuka, R. K., & Lipkus, I. (1993). What do we really want? Mental models of ideal romantic involvement explored through multidimensional scaling. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 29, 493-527.
  • Rusbult, C. E., Van Lange, P. A. M., Wildschut, T., Yovetich, N. A., & Verette, J. (2000). Perceived superiority in close relationships: Why it exists and persists. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 521-545.
  • Van Lange, P. A. M., Rusbult, C. E., Semin-Goossens, A., Gšrts, C. A., & Stalpers, M. (1999). Being better than others but otherwise perfectly normal: Perceptions of uniqueness and similarity in close relationships. Personal Relationships, 6, 269-289.
  • Wieselquist, J., Rusbult, C. E., Foster, C. A., & Agnew, C. R. (1999). Commitment, pro-relationship behavior, and trust in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 942-966.

Courses Taught:

  • Interdependence and Interaction
  • Interpersonal Processes

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