Can’t Get No Satisfaction: Both Romantic Partners Tell Us Why

Andrea Lazar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Romantic relationship satisfaction (RRS) has ramifications for personal, family, and societal well-being. However, research on RRS has often failed to account for characteristics of both partners. The couples sub-sample in Wave III of The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) addresses this by including the romantic heterosexual partners of 1,500 emerging adult respondents. My analysis of relationship characteristics, demographic factors, stressors, and attitudes reveals that, regardless of gender, own characteristics impacted RRS more than partner’s characteristics. However, for men, partner characteristics were more important in RSS than for women. Furthermore, being in an interracial relationship was associated with lower RRS for women with no effect for men. Yet, a mismatch in college attendance between partners was associated with lower RRS for men but not for women. Beyond purposes of well-being, understanding the nuanced relationship dynamics of young adults can further inform policymakers interested in promoting healthy relationships.

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Presented in Session 153: Sex: He Says , She Says