Intimacy, passion, commitment and satisfaction in romantic relationships : the effects of duration, partner and perception

戀愛關係中的親密, 激情, 承諾及滿足感 : 關係長度, 伴侶及觀感的影響

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

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Author(s)

  • Ting Kin NG

Detail(s)

Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date15 Jul 2010

Abstract

In the light of the literature on loving relationships, the present research attempted to refine Sternberg's (1986, 2006) triangular theory of love and derive further explanations of phenomena in romantic relationships. In particular, the roles of relationship duration, the partner's feelings of love, and the perception of the partner were investigated. Two separate studies were conducted for these purposes. Study one aimed at inspecting (a) the contributions of intimacy, passion, and commitment to satisfaction in romantic relationships, (b) the effects of relationship stage and relationship length on the triangular love components, and (c) the moderating effects of relationship stage and relationship length on the associations between the three components of love and relationship satisfaction. Questionnaires were administered to 168 Chinese people currently involved in a heterosexual romantic relationship. The results indicated that intimacy and commitment were independent predictors of relationship satisfaction, whereas passion influenced relationship satisfaction indirectly through affecting intimacy and commitment. Regarding the effect of relationship duration on love, the three components followed significant linear and quadratic trends across the five relationship stages (casually dating, seriously dating, exclusively dating, engaged, and married). Participants at the engaged stage reported the highest levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment. Significant quadratic trends of intimacy and passion and a significant linear trend of commitment over relationship length also emerged. Concerning the moderating effect of relationship duration on the influences of the love components on relationship satisfaction, the effect of commitment was found to be stronger at later stages. Contrary to the prediction, passion was found to be increasingly influential over relationship length. Another unexpected finding was that relationship duration did not appear to moderate the impact of intimacy on relationship satisfaction. The second study aimed to examine (a) the effects of the partner's levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment on the actor's relationship satisfaction, (b) the negative effects of the actual discrepancies between a couple's levels of the triangular love components on relationship satisfaction, (c) the influences of the actor's and the partner's levels of the love components on the actor's perception of the partner, (d) the associations between actual discrepancies in the love components and the perceived discrepancies, (e) the mediating effect of the actor's perception of the partner's love on the relationship between the partner's love and the actor's relationship satisfaction, (f) the mediating effect of the perceived discrepancies in love on the associations between actual discrepancies and relationship satisfaction. Questionnaires were collected from 79 Hong Kong Chinese couples. The results revealed that both the actor's and the partner's levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment were predictive of the actor's relationship satisfaction and the actor's perception of the partner's love. Moreover, the effects of the partner's love on the actor's relationship satisfaction were found to be mediated by the actor's perception. On the other hand, the actual discrepancies between a couple's levels of the love components were related to dissatisfaction and the couple's perceived discrepancies. Furthermore, the negative influences of the actual discrepancies in love on relationship satisfaction were mediated by the perception of the discrepancies.

    Research areas

  • Emotions, Love