Interpersonal theory and personality processes

Michael J. Roche, Nicole M. Cain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews the Contemporary Integrative Interpersonal Theory (CIIT) of personality as it relates to personality dynamics unfolding over time. The interpersonal tradition is rich with theory and research supporting a context-driven and temporally dynamic interplay of the self and important others. The dimensions of agency and communion are used to give structure to these dynamics, by identifying salient contextual features (e.g., perceiving the other as agentic and/or communal), behavioral outputs (e.g., agentic and/or communal behavior), and normative patterns (e.g., complementarity with regards to interpersonal perceptions and behaviors). We also discuss how early theorists linked core affect and mentalization processes into this interpersonal framework. We then present an expanded model of the interpersonal situation and review multimethod evidence supporting this expanded model. We conclude with suggestions for further research and refinements to interpersonal theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Personality Dynamics and Processes
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780128139950
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


  • Agency and communion
  • Complementarity
  • Continuous assessment of interpersonal dynamics
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Intensive repeated measures
  • Interpersonal circumplex
  • Interpersonal situation
  • Interpersonal theory
  • Personality
  • Psychopathology


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