Adult Attachment, Love Styles, Relationship Experiences and Subjective Well-Being: Cross-Cultural and Gender Comparison between Americans, Portuguese, and Mozambicans

Abstract

Attachment security, love styles, and romantic relationship experiences are closely associated with subjective well-being (SWB). A few studies have empirically observed significant relations between these variables. However, no studies have included all of these predictors to analyze the unique contribution of each to SWB, and no cross-cultural studies have analyzed these variables simultaneously. This article examined (a) the relations between attachment security, love styles, romantic relationship experiences and subjective well-being, (b) the unique contribution of each to predict SWB, and (c) cross-cultural and gender differences in the predictors of SWB across three samples of 1,574 university students: 497 from North Carolina (US), 544 from Maputo (Mozambique), and 533 from Lisbon (Portugal). We found cross-cultural differences in the three samples. The main predictor of SWB was attachment security in the US and Portuguese samples, while in the Mozambican it was eros love style. Storge love style positively predicted SWB in the US and Portuguese samples, but not in the Mozambican. In contrast, mania love style predicted the SWB of Mozambicans but not that of Americans or Portuguese. We found gender similarities and differences: the association between attachment security and SWB was not gender-specific; the associations between love styles, relationship experiences and SWB were gender-specific.

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    AAR9 I often worry that romantic partners don’t really love me; AAR11 I often worry that romantic partners won’t want to stay with me; AAR3 I often wonder whether romantic partners really care about me; AAR14 I know that people will be there when I need them; AAR16R I find it difficult to trust others completely; AAR18R I am not sure that I can always depend on people to be there when I need them; AAR8R I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others. LAS7 I feel that my partner and I were meant for each other; LAS13 My partner fits my ideal standards of physical beauty/handsomeness; LAS2 I have sometimes had to keep my partner from finding out about my other lovers; LAS14 My partner would get upset if he/she knew of some of the things I’ve done with other people; LAS3 Our love is the best kind because it grew out of a long friendship; LAS9 Our friendship merged gradually into love over time; LAS15 Our love relationship is the most satisfying because it developed from a good friendship; LAS5 When my partner doesn’t pay attention to me, I feel sick all over; LAS17 If my partner ignores me for a while, I sometimes do stupid things to try to get his/her attention back; LAS4 A main consideration in choosing my partner was how he/she would reflect on my family; LAS10 An important factor of choosing my partner was how he/she would be a good parent; LAS16 A main consideration in choosing my partner was how he/she would reflect on my career; EXP REL1 Throughout your life, how many times did you fall in love?; EXP REL2 Throughout your life, how many love relationships did you maintain with someone (regular dates during more than 3 months) with or without commitment?; EXP REL3 If you did maintain several love relationships in simultaneous, which was the highest number of relationships in simultaneous?; EXP REL4 Which was the longest duration of your love relationships? EXP REL5 Of the previous love relationships, how many do you consider were satisfactory to you?; EXP REL6 To what extent are you satisfied with your current love relationship?—SWLS2 I am satisfied with my current life; SWLS3 My current life is ideal for me; SWLS5 I have the important things I want right now; PANAS17 Interested; PANAS19 Active; PANAS1 Determined; PWI7 How satisfied are you with your future security?; PWI8 How satisfied are you with your spirituality/religion?

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Acknowledgments

We thank the Universities—Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa; East Carolina University; Instituto Superior Técnico; Lusófona University; Eduardo Mondlane University—the teachers and the students who gave their time to freely participate in this study. Project Financed by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia BPD/26479/2006.

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Correspondence to Iolanda Costa Galinha.

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Galinha, I.C., Oishi, S., Pereira, C.R. et al. Adult Attachment, Love Styles, Relationship Experiences and Subjective Well-Being: Cross-Cultural and Gender Comparison between Americans, Portuguese, and Mozambicans. Soc Indic Res 119, 823–852 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-013-0512-7

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Keywords

  • Adult attachment
  • Love styles
  • Relationship experiences
  • Subjective well-being
  • Cross-cultural
  • Gender