Date of Award

5-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Warren H. Jones

Committee Members

Richard A. Saudargas, Helma Bensmail, John Lounsbury

Abstract

Rokeach (1960) proposed that similarity of values, that is characterization of people based on the level of congruency or incongruency of their beliefs to our own is more important in determining relationships than other variables, such as socioeconomic status or education. However, not much research has attempted to explore this proposal and the studies have been reported have yielded inconsistent results. Therefore, the present study (a) determined whether relationship dyads are more similar on values than random pairs, (b) examined differences between actual and perceived similarity, and (c) investigated the correlation between value similarity and satisfaction.

The sample consisted of two groups. The first group was made up of 176 students who participated with a partner for nominal course credit. Dyads were categorized by type of relationship; female/female friends, male/male friends, romantic partners and male/female friends. Participants completed demographic items, items pertaining to their relationship, a standard measure of values for themselves as well as their partner, and a measure of relationship satisfaction. The second group was comprised of 200 students who participated individually and were randomly paired to form 100 dyads. This group only completed demographic items and a standard measure of values.

Results indicated that actual relationship pairs were more similar than random pairs on values. Additionally, perceived similarity was found to be greater than actual similarity. This finding was more frequently observed for female participants. When examining similarity and satisfaction, results were more complex. Specifically, results depended on which aspect of similarity was being investigated as well as which type of relationship was being tested. Overall, these findings suggest that value similarity is indeed important in ongoing relationships.

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Psychology Commons

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