Romantic relationships can bring out the highest highs and the lowest lows in people’s lives. A study published in PLOS One explores factors related to relationship satisfaction and factors related to relationship violence for young couples.
Romantic relationship involvement can have significant implications for a person’s quality of life. A good relationship can lead to higher levels of happiness and increased satisfaction. Unfortunately, in recent years, divorce and break-ups have been increasing, especially due to stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The researchers conducted this study to understand the relationships between love, satisfaction, jealousy, and violence in young couples in Peru in terms of a network analysis. They were interested in exploring how these variables interact with each other within romantic relationships and how they may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To conduct the study, the researchers collected data from 834 young people and adults aged between 18 and 38 years who were in a romantic relationship for at least three months. They recruited these participants through nonprobability snowball sampling. Participants completed measures that assessed intimacy, passion, commitment, jealousy, relationship satisfaction, and abuse/violence, as well as completing questions on sociodemographic information.
The researchers utilized a network analysis approach in order to identify associations and relationships between the aforementioned variables. In this network, each variable (love, satisfaction, jealousy, and violence) was represented as a node. The connections or relationships between these variables were represented as edges.
The strength and direction of the connections between the nodes were determined based on the statistical relationships between the variables. For example, if there was a positive correlation between love and satisfaction, a strong and positive edge would be established between the corresponding nodes. On the other hand, if there was a negative correlation between violence and satisfaction, a strong and negative edge would be created between those nodes.
The results showed that commitment, intimacy, and relationship satisfaction were all linked. The relationship between commitment and satisfaction and intimacy and satisfaction were both strong, positive relationships. Violence had a negative relationship with both intimacy and satisfaction. Jealousy had significant, positive relationships with both passion and violence.
The most central node in the network was satisfaction. This means that satisfaction plays a critical role in romantic relationships and is interconnected with other important elements.
Gender differences existed in these relationships, such that males showed a stronger relationship between intimacy and satisfaction than women did. Additionally, only males showed a positive correlation between passion and violence. Males also showed a relationship between commitment and jealousy, which was absent for females. This research adds to the body of literature exploring factors associated with a successful love relationship.
This study took interesting steps into looking at romantic relationships from a network analysis perspective. Despite this, there are limitations to note. One such limitation is that the gender split of the sample was uneven skewing approximately 77% female. Future research could focus on obtaining a more gender-balanced sample. Additionally, snowball-type non-probability sampling was used, which may not be representative of the general population.
The study, “Love, jealousy, satisfaction and violence in young couples: A network analysis“, was authored by José Ventura-León and Cristopher Lino-Cruz.