The Prosocial Versus Proself Power Holder: How Power Influences Sacrifice in Romantic Relationships

Francesca Righetti*, Laura B. Luchies, Suzanne van Gils, Erica B. Slotter, Betty Witcher, Madoka Kumashiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Romantic partners often have to sacrifice their interests to benefit their partner or to maintain the relationship. In the present work, we investigated whether relative power within the relationship plays an important role in determining the extent to which partners are likely to sacrifice. Drawing from both classic theories and recent research on power, we tested two competing predictions on the relationship between power and sacrifice in romantic relationships. We tested whether (a) power is negatively related to sacrifice and (b) power is positively related to sacrifice. Furthermore, we also explored whether the association between power and sacrifice is moderated by commitment and inclusion of the other in the self. To test our hypotheses, we used different methodologies, including questionnaires, diary studies, and videotaped interactions. Results across the five studies (N = 1,088) consistently supported the hypothesis that power is negatively related to tendencies to sacrifice in close relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-790
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • power
  • sacrifice
  • prosocial behavior
  • romantic relationships

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