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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Experimental Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Graham, James M., 1974-

Second Advisor

Scollon, Christie Napa

Third Advisor

King, Jeff J.


Though people express affection in a wide variety of ways, empirical investigations have yet to converge on one appropriate conceptualization of this construct. Furthermore, investigators have yet to explore what may predict these differences in preferences for different affection expressions. Because belief systems range both across the world and within cultures, we explored expressions of affection across and within cultures to understand how affection expressions may look and be predicted differently. To do this, we recruited 141 Ecuadorian participants through snowballing techniques in Ecuador and 182 United States participants through online snowballing techniques and through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. All participants completed a variety of measures including an original scale assessing preferences for expressing affection, the Romantic Beliefs Scale (Sprecher & Metts, 1989), The Implicit Theories of Romantic Relationships Scale (Knee, 1998), and a within-group measure of culture (Triandis & Gelfand, 1998). First, we conducted exploratory factor analyses within each sample to determine the best factor structure for affection preferences. Results suggest that a 2-Factor solution may best describe affection preferences in Ecuador, whereas a 4-Factor solution may be best in the United States. We then conducted correlational analyses and path analyses to determine how cultural beliefs, romantic relationship beliefs, and affection preferences related in both samples, respectively. Results reveal that different cultural and romantic relationship beliefs relate differently to preferences for different expressions of affection in different cultures. We discuss implications and future directions for this work.




Affection, Romantic Relationship Beliefs, Cultural Differences, Love Languages


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Love--Cross-cultural studies; Interpersonal relations--United States; Interpersonal relations--Ecuador; Interpersonal relations and culture; Intimacy (Psychology)--Cross-cultural studies

Geographic Coverage

United States; Ecuador




masters theses




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