Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 190–215 | Cite as

Dyadic Relationship Values in Chinese Online Daters: Love American Style?

  • Rense Lange
  • James Houran
  • Song Li
Original Paper


Documented differences exist between Eastern and Western attitudes and beliefs about romantic relationships, but some authorities argue that dyadic relationship values are becoming increasingly Westernized. Accordingly, we surveyed current beliefs structures in a large sample (n = 11,300) of male and female subscribers to a major matchmaking site in China, drawing on Sternberg’s classic Triangular Theory of Love (passion, intimacy, and commitment). Consistent with previous findings, dyadic relationship values conformed to a unidimensional Rasch model, although the relative importance of these values varied by age and sex. As predicted, themes related to the component of commitment, and to some extent intimacy, were consistently rated as more salient than themes associated with passion. Unexpectedly, values reflecting passion tended to be rated as more salient than themes related to family/status. Men across all age brackets rated passion and ambition as more salient than the women did, whereas both sexes agreed on the relative importance of financial security. Over all, the results substantiated specific cultural differences reported in the literature but also revealed trends suggesting that contemporary Chinese society is moving closer to love “American style.”


Compatibility Romantic relationships Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love Rasch scaling Cross-cultural differences 



We thank Ho Lam (Eva) Yiu for assistance with background information and the literature review. Appreciation also goes to Koolin Zhao and Matt Shyu for their support with the survey translation and administration.

Conflict of interest

This study was funded by and conducted as part of their market research within the online matchmaking industry.

Ethical standards

This research was approved by the appropriate ethics committees at both Integrated Knowledge Systems (shared committee with the Laboratory of Statistics and Computation at Lusofona University of Humanities and Technologies) and and performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All participants gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Statistics and ComputationLusofona University of Humanities and TechnologiesLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Integrated Knowledge SystemsChathamUSA
  3. 3.Shenzhen Zhenai Information Technology Co., LtdShenzhenChina

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