Relationship researchers often assume that satisfying relationships are healthy, but is this true? We examined whether different types of college dating relationships exist if we analyze elements of relationship health that included not only global relationship satisfaction, but patterns of communication, intimate partner violence, and positive and negative appraisals of one's partner. To do this, we used latent mixture modeling in a large sample of students in committed relationships (N = 1935). Three distinct types of committed relationships emerged: unhealthy and unsatisfying (N=477), healthy and satisfying (N=703), and a group we termed healthy and satisfying but unimpressed with their partner (N=755). To understand factors associated with being in these empirically derived groups, we used a combination of bootstrap sampling and automatic variable selection. Variables related with unhealthy and unsatisfying relationships included higher levels of anxious and avoidant attachment, sanctification, neuroticism and relationship length; and lower levels of dedication and sexual satisfaction. Variables related with healthy and satisfying relationships included higher levels of sexual satisfaction and lower levels of neuroticism and relationship length. Variables related with healthy and satisfied but unimpressed with their partner included lower levels of sanctification and nonexclusive relationships. These findings can aid in the conceptualization of why people stay in poor, unsatisfying relationships; what variables are related to healthy, satisfying relationships; and the difference in variables that lend to partner ambivalence in otherwise satisfying relationships.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Halstead, Aeriel Grace, "How Do I Love Thee? A Latent Mixture Model Analysis of College Dating Relationships" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 9622.
college romantic relationships, relationship types, relationship health/satisfaction