Date of Award

12-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Warren Jones

Committee Members

Teresa Hutchens, Suzanne Kurth, John Lounsbury

Abstract

The exploration of interpersonal relationships has led to the recognition that similarity has played a large role in the relationship quality, e.g. satisfaction, of dyads, specifically romantic dyads. Three categories of similarity have been shown to best predict satisfaction: communication, attitudes, and values. This study examined the actual, perceived, and ideal value similarity of heterosexual romantic dyads at the University of Tennessee and assessed relationship quality which included satisfaction, intimacy, trust, and social provisions. Using stepwise regressions and Pearson Product correlations this study determined that actual, perceived, and ideal value similarity significantly predicted the relationship quality of the individual and the couple. Results showed that no difference was found between actual similarity and perceived similarity in their ability to significantly predict relationship quality. This study primarily explored the relationships of values of the self, partner, and ideal partner in order to further understand relationship quality and identity. Intraindividual and dyadic correlations were formed to assess the degree of similarity of values for each gender and the couple. Results demonstrated that ideal value perceptions were significantly and positively related to relationship quality and also revealed a gender difference. For example, when an individual’s rating of their partner was correlated with the rating of an ideal partner for each gender, results demonstrated a gender difference where only male correlations significantly predicted relationship quality. Possible implications for future research concerning value similarity, gender differences, and identity were then discussed.

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