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Correlates of Passion, Intimacy, and Commitment in Couples’ Daily Experiences STUDY 1 Goal: To develop an adjective-rating measure of the components of.

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Presentation on theme: "Correlates of Passion, Intimacy, and Commitment in Couples’ Daily Experiences STUDY 1 Goal: To develop an adjective-rating measure of the components of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Correlates of Passion, Intimacy, and Commitment in Couples’ Daily Experiences STUDY 1 Goal: To develop an adjective-rating measure of the components of the triangular theory of love (the Love Adjective Rating Scale, LARS) to be used in experience-sampling research. METHOD ABSTRACT Because love is often viewed as significant and centrally defining in close relationships, researchers have worked towards developing models that allow differentiation among various experiences and types of love. Sternberg’s triangular theory of love highlights passion, intimacy, and commitment as playing key roles in the central experience of love, but previous research of this theory has focused mainly on relationship evaluation using these three ingredients as global terms. This paper aims to present two studies which explore whether passion, intimacy, and commitment are better distinguished when examined as context-specific experiences, rather than as global constructs. First, an experiential measure is developed, and second, the experience sampling method is used to examine the correlates of love in couples’ daily experiences. STUDY 2 Goal: To develop an adjective-rating measure of the components of the triangular theory of love (the Love Adjective Rating Scale, LARS) to be used in experience-sampling research. METHOD Participants. The sample consisted of 20 married or cohabiting couples 85% White (n=34) 87.5% had college degrees or higher (n=35) 65% of the couples were married (n=13) Mean relationship age: 5.4 years (S.D.=9.1) Measures. The Experience Sampling Method (Csikszentmihalyi & Larson, 1987) was used to collect repeated measures from participating couples over the course of a week via PalmPilot PDAs. Participants were signaled at quasi-random intervals and asked to complete a short questionnaire on the PDAs by positioning a slider between two anchors. INTRODUCTION The experience of love is often seen as centrally important to close relationships. Because the concept of love can hold various meanings across different types of relationships (e.g., friends, children, romantic relationships), researchers have worked at developing models that allow differentiation between varying experiences of love. Sternberg’s (1986) triangular theory of love suggests that the experience of love consists of a mix of three separate but related components: passion, intimacy, and commitment. Different combinations of these factors results in diverse experiences of love. Despite the theory’s relative simplicity, early research examining the components of the triangular theory and love came across problems relating to measurement issues. Specifically, research suggested spuriously high correlations between the three components of the model (e.g., Acker & Davis, 1992; Hendrick & Hendrick, 1989; Whitley, 1993). As a result, the question of whether these factors actually represent independent constructs has been called into question (Hendrick & Hendrick, 1989; 2003). While a new measure with a more reliable and consistent factor structure has been developed (Sternberg, 1997), correlations between factors continue to be high (Lemieux & Hale, 1999; 2000). This study explores whether passion, intimacy, and commitment are better distinguished when examined as context-specific experiences rather than as global constructs. LARS: Participants were asked to rate how they felt about their relationship at the time of the signal (from not at all to very) and presented with each of the 12 LARS items. The internal consistency of these scores was acceptable (intimacy alpha =.911, commitment alpha =.923, passion alpha =.923). Affect: The affect subscale of Csikszentmihalyi and Larson’s (1987) Experience Sampling Form was used as a measure of affect experienced by participants. Responses were scaled so that higher scores denoted higher levels of positive affect. The internal consistency of these scores was acceptable (alpha =.890). CONCLUSION The further research of love as a construct that varies not only between individuals, but within individuals between situations, has promise. While passion has been previously found to be confounded with other aspects of love, passion is distinct when considered within individuals. Commitment and intimacy remain highly correlated and confounded when considered within individuals. Commitment and intimacy can be distinguished at the experience level by the involvement of affect; intimacy has a strong affective component, while commitment does not. Previous problems in studying the triangular theory of love can be addressed by examining the constructs as situationally-variant. Future research examining passion as an experience-level variable is needed. REFERENCES Acker, M., & Davis, M. H. (1992). Intimacy, passion and commitment in adult romantic relationships: A test of the triangular theory of love. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 9, Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Larson, R. (1987). Validity and reliability of the experience-sampling method. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 175, Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. S. (2003). Romantic love: Measuring Cupid’s arrow. In S.J. Lopez & C.R. Snyder (Eds.), Positive psychological assessment (pp ). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. S. (1989). Research on love: Does it measure up? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, Sternberg, R.J. (1997). Construct validation of a triangular love scale. European Journal of Social Psychology, 27, Sternberg, R.J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review, 93, Whitley, B.E. (1993). Reliability and aspects of the construct validity of Sternberg’s Triangular Love Scale. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 10, Participants. The sample consisted of 93 students of professional psychology graduate programs.  76% were currently involved in a close romantic relationship  24% were recently involved in a close romantic relationship  Length of average relationship: 3.3 years (S.D.=3.9 years)  87% female  72% White The sample consisted of 93 students of professional psychology graduate programs Measures and Procedures. 10 adjectives each were generated by the authors for passion, intimacy, and commitment. Half of the adjectives for each component of the triangle had a positive relationship to the construct, while the other half had a negative relationship to the construct. Participants rated how well each of the adjectives pertained to their relationship on a scale of 1 (not at all) to 10 (extremely). Participants also completed Sternberg’s (1997) Triangular Love Scale (TLS). RESULTS LARS responses were subjected to principal axis factoring with an oblimin rotation. The results suggested three factors corresponding to Sternberg’s components. Items were selected for each subscale on the basis of their psychometric properties. The intimacy subscale consisted of the items close, distant, disconnected, and detached (Cronbach’s alpha=.919). The commitment subscale consisted of the items dedicated, stable, faithful, and committed (Cronbach’s alpha=.865). The passion subscale consisted of the items passionate, romantic, sensual, and aroused (Cronbach’s alpha=.894). Correlations between LARS subscales and TLS scores are shown in Table 1 and suggest acceptable convergent validity. Participants completed a paper-and-pencil copy of the Triangular Love Scale (Sternberg, 1997). The Cronbach’s alphas in the present study were.91,.89, and.91 for the intimacy, commitment, and passion subscale scores. RESULTS ESM data from a total of 464 conjoint experiences was obtained. LARS responses were subjected to principal axis factoring with an oblimin rotation. The results suggested three factors corresponding to Sternberg’s components. As shown in Table 2, the correlations between LARS passion and the other LARS subscales were not as high as is typically seen in studies using the TLS. As shown in Table 2, the correlations between the LARS and TLS indicate acceptable convergent validity. Each LARS subscale was subjected to a fully unconditional 3-level HLM model. The results, showing the partitioning of the variance is shown in Table 3. As seen here, passion varies within individuals to a large extent, while participants remained relatively stable in their feelings of commitment. To examine the role of affect, affect regressed on intimacy, commitment, and passion using 3- level HLM. At level 2, gender was regressed on level 1 slopes and intercept. The results are shown in Table 4. As seen here, passion and intimacy, but not commitment, were related to level of affect. There were no gender differences. Sarah H. Krcmarik, B.A. Argosy University/Chicago Megan Pietrucha, M.A. Argosy University/Chicago Elizabeth Cotter, M.A. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee James M. Graham, Ph.D. Western Washington University Anne Wysoglad, M.A. Argosy University/Chicago Table 2 Study 2 Correlations between Experience-Level Love Adjective Rating Scale (LARS) and Triangular Love Scale (TLS) _______________________________________________________ Variable _ LARS 1) Intimacy - 2) Commitment ) Passion TLS 4) Intimacy ) Commitment ) Passion Note: Correlations for assessing convergent validity are shown in bold. Coefficients in italics use LARS scores averaged by individual. Table 3 Variance Components and Descriptive Statistics of Experience-Level LARS Scores. __________________________________________________________________________ Variance Components (% Total) Reliability _ Variable Mean S.D. Min Max Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 2 Level 3 Intimacy (64) 47 (15) 66 (21) Commitment (43) 22 (11) 92 (46) Passion (60) 121 (27) 60 (13).82.43___


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