HOLLYWOOD, FL (August 21, 2013) — More than half of Americans are either “satisfied,” 36 percent, or “thrilled,” 18 percent, with the quality of their intimate relationships, according to a study of 10,548 people in the continental United States conducted over more than two years by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation in Hollywood, Florida.
PAIRS CEO Seth Eisenberg released findings from the 26-month American Relationship Survey today that also revealed 27 percent of people to be navigating significant relationship challenges with 18 percent facing high risk of separation or divorce. Four percent of the total study group were at the highest risk for separation or divorce.
Eisenberg said findings showed national relationship satisfaction to be fairly even throughout the year, with a small peak in March/April (+2 percent) and seasonal declines in November (-3 percent), December (-4 percent), January (-5 percent) and June (-3 percent).
While Eisenberg said the initial study was not designed to evaluate geographic differences, he said preliminary findings indicate higher levels of relationship satisfaction for people living in Idaho, Montana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Oklahoma, New York, Ohio, Minnesota, Kentucky, Delaware and Colorado. Lower levels were reported by participants in the District of Columbia, Oregon, New Mexico, Maine, Missouri and Rhode Island. Future studies, he said, will be designed to more carefully evaluate geographic differences in relationship satisfaction.
About the Study
This research study was conducted online between June 2011 and August 2013 using the Relationship Pleasure Scale (RPS).
The RPS is an objective six-item self-report measure of general relationship satisfaction. Developed by the PAIRS Foundation approximately 20 years ago, the instrument has been used as a pre-post measure of relationship satisfaction in association with the PAIRS marriage and relationship education courses. Each question asks the user to rate their relationship in the following areas: Sensuality, sexuality, intellectuality, emotionality, friendship & trust, and what has been built together.
Response options are on a five-item Likert scale (0 to 4) for the first five questions and a six-item Likert scale (0 to 5) for the last item. The scores are summed and multiplied by 4 for a total score ranging from 0 to 100. Higher scores correspond to greater levels of relationship pleasure and satisfaction.
The University of Central Florida’s Marriage & Family Research Institute (MFRI) validated the Relationship Pleasure Scale in 2008 as a reliable measure or relationship satisfaction and pleasure.
MFRI’s extensive review found that each of the following areas were found to be important in relationship quality and satisfaction:
- Sensuality (Guerrero & Anderson, 1991; Joanning & Keoughan, 2005; Kaslow & Robinson, 1996)
- Sexuality (Cllymer, Ray, Trepper, & Pierce, 2006; Joanning & Keoughan, 2005; Sprecher, Mettes, Burleson, Hatfield, & Thompson, 1995)
- Intellectuality (Bailey & Mettal, 1997; Ketchler, 2006; Meeks, Hendrick, & Hendrick, 1998)
- Emotionality (Croyle & Waltz, 2002; Katz & Joiner, 2002; Prager & Buhrmester, 1998)
- Friendship & Trust (Erickson, 2001; Johnson, Amoloza, & Booth, 1992; Vanderbleek, 2005)
- What Has Been Built Together (Hatch & Bulcroft, 2004; Jacobson & Addis, 1993; Stafford & Canary, 1991)
Under the direction of Andrew Daire, Ph.D., UCF Professor and Assistant Dean for Research, the MFRI research team also conducted a reliability and validity analyses of the Relationship Pleasure Scale. To evaluate the dimensions that underlie the RPS, a principal component factor analysis with a varimax rotation was conducted using 1,387 PAIRS participants who completed the assessment prior to entering the marriage and relationship education course between February 2007 and May 2008. A one factor solution was confirmed that accounted for 62.71% of the variance explained. The component values for each area were: Sensuality – .82, Sexuality – .76, Intelligence – .82, Emotionality – .86, Friendship & Trust – .85, and Built Together – .62. Results of these analyses provide strong support for the one factor structure for the Relationship Pleasure Scale.
The internal consistency for the six-items on the Relationship Pleasure Scale was evaluated using the Chronbach’s alpha coefficient. The overall alpha coefficient was. 88. Additionally, the alpha for males (n=617) was .86 and the alpha for females (n=770) was .88. For White participants (n=355), the alpha was .88,.88 for Hispanic/Latino participants (n=624), and .87 for Black/African-American participants (n=346). Concurrent validity was established by conducting bivariate correlations with the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1988; Spanier, 1989; and Spanier & Thompson, 1982). Correlations between the RPS total score and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) Total and subscale scores were all significant at the .01 level (<.01): Dyadic Satisfaction (.74), Affectional Expression (.63), Dyadic Cohesion (.66), Dyadic Consensus (.66), and Dyadic Total Score (.80).