Based on the Dualistic Model of Passion (Vallerand et al. in J Pers Soc Psychol 85:756–767, 2003), a bidimensional perspective on romantic passion, that distinguishes between harmonious and obsessive passions, is proposed. The present research aimed at examining how these two types of romantic passion relate to indices of relationship quality, how one’s own passions are associated with one’s partner’s passions and relationship quality, and how the two types of passion relate to relationship stability over time. Study 1 revealed that harmonious passion was more strongly associated with high relationship quality than obsessive passion. Using a dyadic design, Study 2 revealed that the findings of Study 1 applied to both genders. In addition, one’s own passion predicted partner’s relationship quality, partners were not always matched in terms of the predominant type of passion, and passion matching did not predict relationship quality. Finally, Study 3 revealed that types of passion predicted relationship status over a 3-month period.
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The passion subscale of the PRQCI (Fletcher et al. 2000) is composed of items reflecting sexuality (e.g., “Our relationship is sexually passionate”). For this reason, we refer to it as a measure of sexual passion.
Because of the interdependent nature of couple data, we used a dyad structure (Kenny et al. 2006) where women’s and men’s data are entered under a same dyadic unit to control for shared variance. Each case or line of data therefore represents a couple in which partners are nested.
Mean levels of harmonious passion were 5.47 and 5.54 and mean levels of obsessive passion were 3.97 and 3.74 for men and women, respectively.
Analyses revealed no significant differences between this subset and the rest of the sample on harmonious passion, obsessive passion, relationship quality, age, and gender of participants at Time 1. However, participants who took part in the follow-up study had a shorter relationship length (M = 51.58 months) at Time 1, F(1, 320) = 4.63, p < .05, than participants who did not complete the follow-up (M = 70.91 months), although the magnitude of this difference was small (R 2 = .01).
In a pilot study, the 12-item and 14-item version of the RPS were shown to be highly correlated (r = .87 for the harmonious passion subscale; r = .84 for the obsessive passion subscale) and were shown to lead to similar results in terms of their associations with various outcomes (e.g., relationship quality, rumination, internalization of partner in the self, etc.).
Of the 143 participants, 7.7 % (n = 11) of them were no longer involved in the same romantic relationship at Time 2. These participants did not have a different relationship length at Time 1 than those who were still involved in the same relationship at Time 2 (F [1, 142] = 2.13, p = .15, R 2 = .01).
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This research was supported by a doctoral scholarship from FCAR awarded to the first author. We thank Pierre Provencher, Julie Charest, Julie Coiteux, Chantale Bélanger, Chantale Ouellet, Mariane Dupuis, and David Michaliszyn for their valuable assistance in collecting and entering the data.
Studies 1 and 2 were part of the first author’s doctoral dissertation.
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Ratelle, C.F., Carbonneau, N., Vallerand, R.J. et al. Passion in the romantic sphere: A look at relational outcomes. Motiv Emot 37, 106–120 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-012-9286-5
- Romantic passion
- Relationship quality
- Gender differences