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Defining Romantic Self-Sabotage: A Thematic Analysis of Interviews With Practising Psychologists

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 July 2019

Raquel Peel*
School of Psychology & Counselling, University of Southern Queensland, Sydney, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Nerina Caltabiano
Department of Psychology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Beryl Buckby
Department of Psychology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Kerry McBain
Department of Psychology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Author for correspondence: Raquel Peel, School of Psychology & Counselling, University of Southern Queensland, 11 Salisbury Road, Ipswich, QLD 4305, Australia. Email:
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The term ‘self-sabotage’ is not well defined in the current literature. Self-sabotage is generally explained as a synonym of self-handicapping, which does not fully encompass intrinsic behaviours found in romantic relationships. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to explore the theme of self-sabotage as viewed by practising psychologists. A series of 15 semistructured interviews with psychologists specialising in romantic relationships around Australia identified the main issues contributing to self-sabotage in romantic relationships and the reason why it might happen. Future studies will need to be conducted to develop a scale to empirically test self-sabotage in romantic relationships.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s) 2019 

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