Are You Satisfied? Examining Positive Interaction and Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships
Love might seem more art than science, but there is data behind matters of the heart. Researchers at the University of Florida found that affectionate communication plays a pivotal role in relationship satisfaction.
Affectionate communication is an umbrella term that refers to expressing verbal, non-verbal, and supportive behaviors in a relationship, such as saying “I love you,” offering a hug, or providing emotional support. UF College of Journalism and Communications doctoral candidates Taylor Vasquez and Chelsea Moss and UF colleagues conducted a study through the lens of affection exchange theory, which posits that humans are innately capable of giving and receiving affection, to better understand if and how affectionate communication impacts a romantic relationship.
The study found that giving and receiving affectionate communication strongly contributes to relationship satisfaction by increasing partner commitment (the intention to stay in a relationship over time) and relationship quality (one’s perception that their relationship is of a high caliber).
This study helps support the work of family and relationship scholars by providing insight into the factors that affect relationship satisfaction, which subsequently impacts careers, mental health, and personal lives. The study also affirms that relationship therapists can and should encourage verbal and non-verbal affectionate communication to help build higher levels of commitment, relationship quality, and romantic satisfaction between couples.
Authors: Taylor S. Vasquez, Chelsea E. Moss, Dr. Victor Harris, Dr. Brian Visconti
The original article, “Are You Satisfied? Examining Positive Interaction and Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships,” was published online in the Journal of Family Issues on April 24, 2023.
This summary was written by Jessica Berube, UFCJC M.A.M.C. 2021