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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1999 Jan;76(1):72-89.

Ideals in intimate relationships.

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Psychology Department, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.


This research examined lay relationship and partner ideals in romantic relationships from both a social-cognitive and an evolutionary perspective. Studies 1 and 2 revealed that the qualities of an ideal partner were represented by 3 factors (partner warmth-trustworthiness, vitality-attractiveness, and status-resources), whereas the qualities of an ideal relationship were represented by 2 factors (relationship intimacy-loyalty and passion). A confirmatory factor analysis in Study 3 replicated these factor structures but found considerable overlap across the partner and relationship dimensions. Studies 4 and 5 produced convergent and discriminant validity evidence for all 5 factors. Study 6 indicated that the higher the consistency between the ideals and related assessments of the current partner and relationship, the more positively the current relationship was evaluated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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