Skip to main content
Log in

Satisfaction with Love Life Across the Adult Life Span

Applied Research in Quality of Life Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Three issues concerning the relationship between age and satisfaction with love life are examined in this study. The first issue concerns the age generalizability of the factor structure of the Satisfaction With Love Life Scale (SWLLS). The second issue explores the influence of background factors, namely age, on satisfaction with love life. Finally, the third issue concerns the relation between scores on the SWLLS with those on other relationship constructs. A total of 1,284 women (48 %) and men participated in the study. The mean ages were 38 years; ages ranged from 18 to 90. The results showed that the factor structure of responses to the Satisfaction With Love Life Scale are highly similar across the adult life. Adults reported higher satisfaction with love life than older adults. As predicted love life satisfaction was correlated with measures of other relational constructs. Satisfaction with love life was positively correlated with erotic and agapic orientations among young adults, adults and older adults. Unexpected significant positive associations between love satisfaction, and Ludus and Mania were found among adults. Significant negative correlations were found between love satisfaction, and romantic loneliness. Significant positive associations between love satisfaction, and partnership commitment, sexual desire, satisfaction with life and affective well-being were found for the three age groups, except for older adults and this last variable. Suggestions concerning possible uses of the SWLLS are advanced.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Abdel-Khalek, A. (2012). Subjective well-being and religiosity: a cross-sectional study with adolescents, young and middle-age adults. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 15, 39–52.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alves, M. A. (2012). Características desejadas num par romântico a longo prazo. Porto: Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação, Universidade do Porto, unpublished Master Dissertation.

  • Arakawa, D. R., Flanders, C. E., Hatfield, E., & Heck, R. (2013). Positive psychology: what impact has it had on sex research publication trends? Sexuality & Culture, 17, 305–320.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Arnett, J. J. (2008). The neglected 95 %: Why American psychology needs to become less American. American Psychologist, 63, 602–614.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Arrindell, W. A., van Niewenhuizen, C., & Luteijn, F. (2001). Chronic psychiatric status and satisfaction with life. Personality and Individual Differences, 31, 145–155.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ayyash-Abdo, H., & Alamuddin, R. (2007). Predictors of well-being among college youth in Lebanon. The Journal of Social Psychology, 147, 265–284.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Biswas-Diener, R. (2006). From the equator to the north polo: a study of character strengths. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 293–310.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Broderick, J. E., & O’Leary, D. (1986). Contributions of affect, attitudes, and behavior to marital satisfaction. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 514–517.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cate, R. M., Koval, J., Loyd, S. A., & Wilson, G. (1995). Assessment of relationship thinking in dating relationships. Personal Relationships, 2, 77–95.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 34–43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Diener, E. (2006). Guidelines for national indicators of subjective well-being and iil-being. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 1, 151–157.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Diener, E., & Lucas, R. E. (2000). Subjective emotional well-being. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (2nd ed., pp. 325–337). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological Science, 13, 81–84.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Diener, E. R., Emmons, R., Larsen, R., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 2, 276–302.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DiTommaso, E., & Spinner, B. (1993). The development and initial validation of a measure of social and emotional loneliness (SELSA). Personality and Individual Differences, 14, 127–134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DiTommaso, E., Brannen, C., & Best, L. (2004). Measurement and validity characteristics of the short version of eh social and emotional loneliness scale for adults. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 64, 99–119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ellison, C. G. (1991). Religious involvement and subjective well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 32, 80–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ellison, C. G., Gay, D. A., & Glass, T. A. (1989). Does religious involvement translate into individual life satisfaction? Social Forces, 68, 100–123.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fernandes, H., & Neto, F. (2009). Adaptação portuguesa da Escala de Solidão Social e Emocional (SELSA-S). Psicologia, Educação e Cultura, XIII, 7–31.

    Google Scholar 

  • Flechter, G. J., Simpson, J. A., & Thomas, G. (2000). The measurement of perceived relationship quality components: a confirmatory analytic approach. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 340–354.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gartner, J., Larson, D. B., & Allen, G. D. (1991). Religious commitment and mental health: a review of empirical literature. Journal of Psychology and Religion, 19, 6–25.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodboy, A. K., Moran, S. M., & Booth-Butterfield, M. (2012). Intentional jealousy-evoking behaviour in romantic relationships as a function of received partner affection and love styles. Communication Quarterly, 60, 370–385.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goodwin, R., Cook, O., & Yung, Y. (2001). Loneliness and life satisfaction among three cultural groups. Personal Relationships, 8, 225–230.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Green, K. V., & Yoon, B. J. (2004). Religiosity, economics and life satisfaction. Review of Social Economy, 62, 245–261.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guedes, M. J, (2011). Satisfação com a vida amorosa nas relações de intimidade dos pares de namordos. Porto: Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação, Universidade do Porto, unpublished Master Dissertation.

  • Hatfield, E., & Rapson, R. L. (1995). Love and sex: Cross-cultural perspectives. New York: Allyn & Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hatfield, E., & Rapson, R. (2014). Love and sex after 50. In P. Whelehan & A. Bolin (Eds.), The encyclopedia of human sexuality. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hatfield, E., Rapson, R. L., & Martel, L. D. (2007). Passionate love and sexual desire. In S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of cultural psychology (pp. 760–779). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hatfield, E., Pillemer, J. T., O’Brien, M., & Le, Y. (2008). The endurance of love: passionate love and companionate love in newlywed and long-term marriages. Interpersona, 2, 35–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hatfield, E., Bensman, L., & Rapson, R. L. (2012). A brief history of social scientists’ attempts to measure passionate love. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29, 143–164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. (1986). A theory and method of love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 392–402.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. S. (1988). Lovers wear rose colored glasses. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 5, 161–183.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hendrick, S., & Hendrick, C. (2002). Love. In R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 472–484). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hendrick, S., Dicke, A., & Hendrick, C. (1998). The relationships assessment scale. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 15, 137–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hyde, J. S. (2005). The gender similarity hypothesis. American Psychologist, 60, 581–592.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kurdek, L. A. (1991). The relations between reported well-being and divorce history, availability of proximate adult, and gender. Journal of Marriage and Family Relations, 53, 71–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, J. A. (1973). The colors of love: An exploration of the ways of loving. Toronto: New Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lee, J. A. (1988). Love-styles. In R. J. Sternberg & M. L. Barnes (Eds.), The psychology of love (pp. 38–67). New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meeks, B. S., Hendrick, S., & Hendrick, C. (1998). Communication, love and relationship satisfaction. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 15, 755–773.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Munoz Sastre, M. T., Vainsonneau, G., Neto, F., Girard, M., & Mullet, E. (2003). Forgiveness and satisfaction with life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 4, 323–335.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Myers, D. G., & Diener, E. (1995). Who is happy? Psychological Science, 6, 10–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Myers, J., & Shurts, M. (2002). Measuring positive emotionality: a review of instruments assessing love. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 34, 238–254.

    Google Scholar 

  • Neto, F. (1993a). Love styles and self-representations. Personality and Individual Differences, 14, 795–803.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Neto, F. (1993b). Satisfaction with life among Portuguese adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 22, 125–134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Neto, F. (1994). Love styles among Portuguese students. Journal of Psychology, 128, 613–616.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Neto, F. (1995). Predictors of satisfaction with life among second generation migrants. Social Indicators Research, 35, 93–116.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Neto, F. (2001). Love styles of three generations of women. Marriage & Family Review, 33(4), 19–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Neto, F. (2005). The satisfaction with love life scale. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 38, 2–13.

    Google Scholar 

  • Neto, F. (2012). The satisfaction with sex life scale. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 45, 18–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Neto, F., Mullet, E., Deschamps, J., Barros, J., Benvindo, R., Camino, L., et al. (2000). Cross-cultural variations in attitudes toward love. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 31, 626–635.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Orathinkal, J., & Vansteenwegen, A. (2007). Do demographics affect marital satisfaction? Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 33, 73–85.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (2008). The satisfaction with life scale and the emerging construct of life satisfaction. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 3, 137–152.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Peplau, L., & Perlman, D. (1982). Loneliness: A sourcebook of current theory, research and therapy. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

    Google Scholar 

  • Regan, P. C. (1998). Of lust and love: beliefs about the role of sexual desire in romantic relationship. Personal Relationships, 5, 139–157.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Regan, P. C., & Berscheid, E. (1999). Lust: What we know about human sexual desire. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reis, H. T., & Aron, A. (2009). Love: what is it, does it matter, and how it operate. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3, 80–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rich, G. J. (2003). The positive psychology of youth and adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 32, 1–3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rubin, Z. (1970). Measurement of romantic love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 16, 265–273.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rubin, Z. (1973). Liking and loving: An invitation to Social Psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

    Google Scholar 

  • Salvatore, N., & Munoz Sastre, T. (2001). Appraisal of life: area versus dimension conceptualizations. Social Indicators Research, 53, 229–255.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shin, D. C., & Johnson, D. M. (1978). Avowed happiness as an overall assessment of the quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 5, 475–492.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Simões, A. (1993). São os homens mais agressivos que as mulheres? Revista Portuguesa de Pedagogia, XXVII, 387–404.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sprecher, S., & Regan, P. (1998). Passionate and companionate love in courting and young married couples. Sociological Inquiry, 68, 163–185.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sternberg, R. J. (1988). Tiangular love. In R. J. Sternberg & M. L. Barnes (Eds.), The psychology of love (pp. 119–138). New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Watson, D., Clark, L., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1070–1079.

    Google Scholar 

  • Weiss, R. (1973). Loneliness: The experience of emotional and social isolation. Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson, W. (1967). Correlates of avowed happiness. Psychological Bulletin, 67, 294–306.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Félix Neto.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Neto, F., da Conceição Pinto, M. Satisfaction with Love Life Across the Adult Life Span. Applied Research Quality Life 10, 289–304 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-014-9314-6

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-014-9314-6

Keywords

Navigation