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The Triangular Theory of Love (measured with Sternberg’s Triangular Love Scale – STLS) is a prominent theoretical concept in empirical research on love. To expand the culturally homogeneous body of previous psychometric research regarding the STLS, we conducted a large-scale cross-cultural study with the use of this scale. In total, we examined more than 11,000 respondents, but as a result of applied exclusion criteria, the final analyses were based on a sample of 7332 participants from 25 countries (from all inhabited continents). We tested configural invariance, metric invariance, and scalar invariance, all of which confirmed the cultural universality of the theoretical construct of love analyzed in our study. We also observed that levels of love components differ depending on relationship duration, following the dynamics suggested in the Triangular Theory of Love. Supplementary files with all our data, including results on love intensity across different countries along with STLS versions adapted in a few dozen languages, will further enable more extensive research on the Triangular Theory of Love.
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Universality of the Triangular Theory of Love: Adaptation and Psychometric
Properties of the Triangular Love Scale in 25 Countries
ArticleinThe Journal of Sex Research · August 2020
DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2020.1787318
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The Journal of Sex Research
ISSN: (Print) (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/hjsr20
Universality of the Triangular Theory of Love:
Adaptation and Psychometric Properties of the
Triangular Love Scale in 25 Countries
Piotr Sorokowski , Agnieszka Sorokowska , Maciej Karwowski , Agata
Groyecka , Toivo Aavik , Grace Akello , Charlotte Alm , Naumana Amjad ,
Afifa Anjum , Kelly Asao , Chiemezie S. Atama , Derya Atamtürk Duyar ,
Richard Ayebare , Carlota Batres , Mons Bendixen , Aicha Bensafia , Boris
Bizumic , Mahmoud Boussena , David M. Buss , Marina Butovskaya , Seda
Can , Katarzyna Cantarero , Antonin Carrier , Hakan Çetinkaya , Dominika
Chabin , Daniel Conroy-Beam , Ilona Croy , Rosa María Cueto , Marcin Czub ,
Daria Dronova , Seda Dural , Izzet Duyar , Berna Ertugrul , Agustín Espinosa ,
Ignacio Estevan , Carla Sofia Esteves , Tomasz Frackowiak , Jorge Contreras
Graduño , Farida Guemaz , Tran Ha Thu , Mária Haľamová , Iskra Herak ,
Marina Horvat , Ivana Hromatko , Chin-Ming Hui , Jas Laile Jaafar , Feng
Jiang , Konstantinos Kafetsios , Tina Kavcic , Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair ,
Nicolas Kervyn , Nils C. Köbis , Aleksandra Kostic , Anna Krasnodębska ,
András Láng , Georgina R. Lennard , Ernesto León , Torun Lindholm , Gulia
Lopez , Mohammad Madallh Alhabahba , Alvaro Mailhos , Zoi Manesi ,
Rocio Martinez , Mario Sainz Martinez , Sarah L. McKerchar , Norbert
Meskó , Girishwar Misra , Conal Monaghan , Emanuel C. Mora , Alba Moya-
Garófano , Bojan Musil , Jean Carlos Natividade , George Nizharadze ,
Elisabeth Oberzaucher , Anna Oleszkiewicz , Mohd Sofian Omar Fauzee , Ike
E. Onyishi , Baris Özener , Ariela Francesca Pagani , Vilmante Pakalniskiene ,
Miriam Parise , Bogusław Pawłowski , Farid Pazhoohi , Marija Pejičić ,
Annette Pisanski , Katarzyna Pisanski , Nejc Plohl , Edna Ponciano , Camelia
Popa , Pavol Prokop , Aneta Przepiórka , Truong Quang Lam , Muhammad
Rizwan , Joanna Różycka-Tran , Svjetlana Salkičević , Ruta Sargautyte , Ivan
Sarmany-Schuller , Susanne Schmehl , Anam Shahid , Rizwana Shaikh ,
Shivantika Sharad , Franco Simonetti , Meri Tadinac , Truong Thi Khanh Ha ,
Karina Ugalde González , Christin-Melanie Vauclair , Luis Diego Vega , Dwi
Ajeng Widarini , Bogdan Wojciszke , Gyesook Yoo , Zainab Fotowwat Zadeh ,
Marta Zaťková , Maja Zupančič & Robert J. Sternberg
To cite this article: Piotr Sorokowski , Agnieszka Sorokowska , Maciej Karwowski , Agata
Groyecka , Toivo Aavik , Grace Akello , Charlotte Alm , Naumana Amjad , Afifa Anjum , Kelly
Asao , Chiemezie S. Atama , Derya Atamtürk Duyar , Richard Ayebare , Carlota Batres , Mons
Bendixen , Aicha Bensafia , Boris Bizumic , Mahmoud Boussena , David M. Buss , Marina
Butovskaya , Seda Can , Katarzyna Cantarero , Antonin Carrier , Hakan Çetinkaya , Dominika
Chabin , Daniel Conroy-Beam , Ilona Croy , Rosa María Cueto , Marcin Czub , Daria Dronova ,
Seda Dural , Izzet Duyar , Berna Ertugrul , Agustín Espinosa , Ignacio Estevan , Carla Sofia
Esteves , Tomasz Frackowiak , Jorge Contreras Graduño , Farida Guemaz , Tran Ha Thu , Mária
Haľamová , Iskra Herak , Marina Horvat , Ivana Hromatko , Chin-Ming Hui , Jas Laile Jaafar , Feng
Jiang , Konstantinos Kafetsios , Tina Kavcic , Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair , Nicolas Kervyn ,
Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
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Nils C. Köbis , Aleksandra Kostic , Anna Krasnodębska , András Láng , Georgina R. Lennard ,
Ernesto León , Torun Lindholm , Gulia Lopez , Mohammad Madallh Alhabahba , Alvaro Mailhos ,
Zoi Manesi , Rocio Martinez , Mario Sainz Martinez , Sarah L. McKerchar , Norbert Meskó ,
Girishwar Misra , Conal Monaghan , Emanuel C. Mora , Alba Moya-Garófano , Bojan Musil ,
Jean Carlos Natividade , George Nizharadze , Elisabeth Oberzaucher , Anna Oleszkiewicz ,
Mohd Sofian Omar Fauzee , Ike E. Onyishi , Baris Özener , Ariela Francesca Pagani , Vilmante
Pakalniskiene , Miriam Parise , Bogusław Pawłowski , Farid Pazhoohi , Marija Pejičić , Annette
Pisanski , Katarzyna Pisanski , Nejc Plohl , Edna Ponciano , Camelia Popa , Pavol Prokop ,
Aneta Przepiórka , Truong Quang Lam , Muhammad Rizwan , Joanna Różycka-Tran , Svjetlana
Salkičević , Ruta Sargautyte , Ivan Sarmany-Schuller , Susanne Schmehl , Anam Shahid , Rizwana
Shaikh , Shivantika Sharad , Franco Simonetti , Meri Tadinac , Truong Thi Khanh Ha , Karina
Ugalde González , Christin-Melanie Vauclair , Luis Diego Vega , Dwi Ajeng Widarini , Bogdan
Wojciszke , Gyesook Yoo , Zainab Fotowwat Zadeh , Marta Zaťková , Maja Zupančič & Robert
J. Sternberg (2020): Universality of the Triangular Theory of Love: Adaptation and Psychometric
Properties of the Triangular Love Scale in 25 Countries, The Journal of Sex Research, DOI:
10.1080/00224499.2020.1787318
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Universality of the Triangular Theory of Love: Adaptation and Psychometric
Properties of the Triangular Love Scale in 25 Countries
Piotr Sorokowski
a
, Agnieszka Sorokowska
a
, Maciej Karwowski
a
, Agata Groyecka
a
, Toivo Aavik
b
, Grace Akello
c
,
Charlotte Alm
d
, Naumana Amjad
e
, Afa Anjum
e
, Kelly Asao
f
, Chiemezie S. Atama
g
, Derya Atamtürk Duyar
h
,
Richard Ayebare
i
, Carlota Batres
j
, Mons Bendixen
k
, Aicha Bensaa
l
, Boris Bizumic
m
, Mahmoud Boussena
l
,
David M. Buss
n
, Marina Butovskaya
o
, Seda Can
p
, Katarzyna Cantarero
q
, Antonin Carrier
r
, Hakan Çetinkaya
p
,
Dominika Chabin
s
, Daniel Conroy-Beam
t
, Ilona Croy
u
, Rosa María Cueto
v
, Marcin Czub
a
, Daria Dronova
o
,
Seda Dural
p
, Izzet Duyar
h
, Berna Ertugrul
w
, Agustín Espinosa
v
, Ignacio Estevan
x
, Carla Soa Esteves
y
,
Tomasz Frackowiak
a
, Jorge Contreras Graduño
z
, Farida Guemaz
aa
, Tran Ha Thu
bb
, Mária Haľamová
cc
, Iskra Herak
r
,
Marina Horvat
dd
, Ivana Hromatko
ee
, Chin-Ming Hui
, Jas Laile Jaafar
gg
, Feng Jiang
hh
, Konstantinos Kafetsios
ii
,
Tina Kavcic
jj
, Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair
k
, Nicolas Kervyn
r
, Nils C. Köbis
kk
, Aleksandra Kostic
ll
, Anna Krasnodębska
mm
,
András Láng
nn
, Georgina R. Lennard
m
, Ernesto León
v
, Torun Lindholm
d
, Gulia Lopez
oo
,
Mohammad Madallh Alhabahba
pp
, Alvaro Mailhos
x
, Zoi Manesi
qq
, Rocio Martinez
rr
, Mario Sainz Martinez
rr
,
Sarah L. McKerchar
m
, Norbert Meskó
nn
, Girishwar Misra
ss
, Conal Monaghan
m
, Emanuel C. Mora
tt
, Alba Moya-
Garófano
rr
, Bojan Musil
dd
, Jean Carlos Natividade
uu
, George Nizharadze
vv
, Elisabeth Oberzaucher
ww
,
Anna Oleszkiewicz
a
, Mohd Soan Omar Fauzee
xx
, Ike E. Onyishi
g
, Baris Özener
h
, Ariela Francesca Pagani
oo
,
Vilmante Pakalniskiene
yy
, Miriam Parise
oo
, Bogusław Pawłowski
a
, Farid Pazhoohi
zz
, Marija Pejičić
ll
, Annette Pisanski
tt
,
Katarzyna Pisanski
a
, Nejc Plohl
dd
, Edna Ponciano
aaa
, Camelia Popa
bbb
, Pavol Prokop
ccc
, Aneta Przepiórka
ddd
,
Truong Quang Lam
bb
, Muhammad Rizwan
eee
, Joanna Różycka-Tran
f
, Svjetlana Salkičević
ee
, Ruta Sargautyte
yy
,
Ivan Sarmany-Schuller
ggg
, Susanne Schmehl
ww
, Anam Shahid
e
, Rizwana Shaikh
hhh
, Shivantika Sharad
iii
,
Franco Simonetti
jjj
, Meri Tadinac
ee
, Truong Thi Khanh Ha
bb
, Karina Ugalde González
kkk
, Christin-Melanie Vauclair
y
,
Luis Diego Vega
kkk
, Dwi Ajeng Widarini
lll
, Bogdan Wojciszke
bb
, Gyesook Yoo
mmm
, Zainab Fotowwat Zadeh
nnn
,
Marta Zaťková
cc
, Maja Zupančič
ooo
, and Robert J. Sternberg
ppp
a
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, TU Dresden, University of Wroclaw and Smell and Taste Clinic;
b
University of Tartu;
c
Gulu University;
d
Stockholm
University;
e
University of the Punjab;
f
Westminster College;
g
University of Nigeria;
h
Istanbul University;
i
THETA-Uganda;
j
Franklin and Marshall College;
k
Norwegian University of Technology and Science (NTNU);
l
University Algiers 2;
m
Australian National University;
n
University of Texas at Austin;
o
Institute of
Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences;
p
Department of Psychology, Ankara University;
q
SWPS University of Social Sciences and
Humanities;
r
Université Catholique De Louvain;
s
University of Wrocław;
t
University of California Santa Barbara;
u
Technische Universität Dresden
Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine;
v
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú;
w
Sivas Cumhuriyet University;
x
Universidad de la República
(Uruguay);
y
Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), CIS-IUL;
z
Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores, Unidad Morelia, UNAM;
aa
University Setif2;
bb
University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University;
cc
Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra;
dd
University of Maribor;
ee
University of Zagreb;
Chinese University of Hong Kong;
gg
University of Malaya;
hh
Huaqiao University;
ii
Palacký University;
jj
University of Primorska;
kk
University of Amsterdam;
ll
University of Niš;
mm
Opole University;
nn
University of Pécs;
oo
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore;
pp
Middle East University;
qq
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam;
rr
School of Psychology, University of Monterrey;
ss
University of Delhi;
tt
University of Havana;
uu
Pontifical Catholic University
of Rio de Janeiro;
vv
K.Bendukidze Free University;
ww
University of Vienna;
xx
Universiti Utara Malaysia;
yy
Vilnius University;
zz
University of British Columbia;
aaa
Rio de Janeiro State University;
bbb
UNATC-CINETIc Bucharest;
ccc
Comenius University and Slovak Academy of Sciences;
ddd
The John Paul II Catholic
University of Lublin;
eee
The Delve Pvt Ltd;
fff
University of Gdańsk;
ggg
Center of Social and Psychological Sciences SAS;
hhh
Aga Khan University Hospital;
iii
Vivekananda College, University of Delhi;
jjj
Universidad Catolica de Chile;
kkk
Universidad Latina de Costa Rica;
lll
University of Prof. Dr. Moestopo
(Beragama);
mmm
Kyung Hee University;
nnn
Bahria University Karachi Campus;
ooo
University of Ljubljana;
ppp
Cornell University
ABSTRACT
The Triangular Theory of Love (measured with Sternberg’s Triangular Love Scale STLS) is
a prominent theoretical concept in empirical research on love. To expand the culturally homoge-
neous body of previous psychometric research regarding the STLS, we conducted a large-scale cross-
cultural study with the use of this scale. In total, we examined more than 11,000 respondents, but as
a result of applied exclusion criteria, the nal analyses were based on a sample of 7332 participants
from 25 countries (from all inhabited continents). We tested congural invariance, metric invariance,
and scalar invariance, all of which conrmed the cultural universality of the theoretical construct of
love analyzed in our study. We also observed that levels of love components dier depending on
relationship duration, following the dynamics suggested in the Triangular Theory of Love.
Supplementary les with all our data, including results on love intensity across dierent countries
along with STLS versions adapted in a few dozen languages, will further enable more extensive
research on the Triangular Theory of Love.
CONTACT Piotr Sorokowski sorokowskipiotr@yahoo.co.uk Department of Psychology, University of Wrocław
Supplemental data for this article can be accessed on the publisher’s website.
THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH
https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2020.1787318
© 2020 The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
Introduction
Love is an inherent part of human experience and one of the
most important elements of close relationships. Researchers’
interest in love is manifested in a handful of approaches that
provide a potential theoretical framework for this unique feel-
ing (e.g., philosophical e.g., Secomb, 2007; economic e.g.,
Becker, 1973; neurobiological – e.g., Diamond & Dickenson,
2012; Fisher et al., 2002, or evolutionary perspectives – e.g.,
Gray & Garcia, 2013).
Several classic theories of love have been advanced within the
social sciences (a comprehensive review of theories can be found
in Sternberg & Sternberg, 2019). Among the most popular
theoretical approaches, one theory highlights a division into
passionate (intense and arousing) and companionate (tender
and affective) love (Feybesse & Hatfield, 2019; Hatfield &
Walster, 1985), which suggests the parallel importance of love’s
different aspects. Another typology refers to love styles, as first
described by Lee (1973) and as further adapted by C. Hendrick
and Hendrick (1986, 2019). This theoretical framework specifies
six styles of love: Eros (passionate love), Ludus (game-playing
love), Storge (friendship love), Pragma (logical, pragmatic love),
Mania (possessive, dependent love) and Agape (all-giving, self-
less love). Attachment Theory (Bowlby, 2012), describing infant-
parent bonding, also has given rise to a theoretical framework
for understanding romantic love (Hazan & Shaver, 1987;
Mikulincer & Shaver, 2019). Finally, there is a prominent
Triangular Theory of Love (R.J. Sternberg, 2006; Sternberg,
1986, 1988, 2019), which is also the subject of the current study.
According to the Triangular Theory, love is understood in
terms of three components that can be seen as vertices of
a triangle. These components are intimacy, passion, and deci-
sion/commitment. Intimacy refers to closeness, connectedness,
communication, caring, and emotional investment and is
sometimes described as the “warm” love component
(Sternberg, 1986). Actually, intimacy understood in these
ways is not exclusively for romantic relationships and it can
also appear toward a sibling, parent, or a close friend
(Sternberg & Grajek, 1984). The “hot” component – passion
pertains to romance, excitement, physical attraction and even
obsession.
This Triangular Theory of Love is also relevant to analyzing
sexual interactions in different contexts and types of relation-
ships. For example, sexual desire can intensify in response to
fertility markers (Buss, 2006; Gonzaga et al., 2006), potentially
affecting mating patterns depending on reproductive potential.
Also, in loving couples, sexual attraction, and possibly higher
frequency of sexual intercourse, may be a very important part
of a relationship because it fosters reproduction (Hopcroft,
2006; Sorokowski, Sorokowska, et al., 2017). Finally, commit-
ment/decision the “cold” component of love – refers to the
cognitive decisions regarding relationship maintenance. The
short-term aspect of commitment is the decision that one loves
a certain other, while the long-term aspect pertains to main-
taining a particular relationship over time (Sternberg, 1986).
According to Sternberg’s assumptions and further empirical
research on his theory, the intensity of the three love compo-
nents varies as a function of relationship duration. Sternberg
(1986) suggested that passion is likely to peak quickly but also
to decrease rapidly with time, while commitment generally
increases for long-term relationships. Intimacy, in contrast,
increases slowly, but then manifest (fully conscious) intimacy
often decreases with time (Sternberg, 1986).
Based on the theory of Sternberg (1986), Wojciszke (2002)
proposed that a relationship can be divided into 6 phases. He
measured the intensity of each love component within each
phase; his results were consistent with the theoretical assump-
tions of Sternberg (1986). At the same time, however, the
dynamics of each love component depend on various factors
and can vary greatly across couples (Sprecher & Regan, 1998).
Acker and Davis (1992) reported that passion decreases over
time, but only in females. They observed no time-related
fluctuations in the level of intimacy; the level of commitment
was indeed higher in more “serious” relationships (Acker &
Davis, 1992). Another, more complex approach suggests that
passion changes as a function of changes in intimacy. That is,
passion is low when intimacy is stable, but an increase in
intimacy will also give rise to stronger passion (Baumeister
& Bratslavsky, 1999).
Levels of all three love components have also been reported
to vary across the lifespan. Adolescents reported lower levels of
all three components as compared with young adults, while
older adults scored lower on passion and intimacy measures
and similarly on the commitment scale as compared with
young and middle-aged adults (Sumter et al., 2013).
Considering that age should be positively related to relation-
ship duration in those people who maintain the relationships
from early adulthood, the study by Sumter et al. (2013) only
partially confirms Sternberg’s predictions (Sternberg, 1986).
The proposed three components of love can be measured
with Sternberg’s Triangular Love Scale (STLS) (Sternberg,
1986, 1997). Together with the growing body of literature on
the Triangular Theory of Love, various studies have investi-
gated the psychometric properties of the STLS (e.g., Lemieux &
Hale, 2000; Overbeek et al., 2007). They revealed its high
correlations with other measures of love (Acker & Davis,
1992; Chojnacki, 1990; C. Hendrick & Hendrick, 1986; Levy
& Davis, 1988; Whitley, 1993), which suggested that the ques-
tionnaire was a valid measure of the love construct. Sternberg
(1997) showed that both versions (the 36-item and the 45-item
versions) of the scale had satisfactory subscale reliabilities and
overall scale reliability. Factor analysis reported in this study
revealed three factors (“straightforwardly interpretable as com-
mitment, intimacy, and passion”) accounted for approximately
60% of the variance in the data. Although some of the items in
the 36-item version of the scale correlated higher with sub-
scales other than their designated subscale, this problem was
less pronounced in the 45-item version of the scale. However,
a few other studies on Triangular Theory of Love as measured
by the STLS indicated a high item-overlap of this scale (Acker
& Davis, 1992; Chojnacki, 1990; C. Hendrick & Hendrick,
1989). C. Hendrick and Hendrick (1989) did not observe the
three assumed clusters among undergraduate students – many
STLS items loaded on more than one factor. The internal
consistency for the total 45-item scale was .97 (C. Hendrick &
Hendrick, 1986), suggesting that the measured construct had
2P. SOROKOWSKI ET AL.
one rather than three factors. Another psychometric study
evaluating a 36–item version of the STLS on a non-student
sample also revealed that some items overlapped or loaded
weakly on multiple implemented factors (Acker & Davis,
1992). Confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses of the 45-
item STLS reported by Whitley (1993) showed that although
that the three-factor model provided the best fit to the data,
even this solution, however, revealed certain problems, with
many items loading on more than one scale. In summary, some
research regarding the STLS suggests that the questionnaire
provides a good measure of a higher order construct of love.
However, the proposed factorial structure remains in question,
as previous outcomes have not been consistent.
Many psychological studies trying to depict human universals
are based on a single culture, or – even if they are cross-cultural –
the sample comprises a specific social group, the so-called
“WEIRD” people (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and
Democratic, see: Henrich et al., 2010). Cross-cultural perspec-
tives on different constructs allows scientists to form general
conclusions about universal aspects of human nature, to broaden
perspectives, to increase the range of potentially meaningful
variables in their models and, consequently, to better describe
and understand the mechanisms and processes underlying
important psychological phenomena (see Brislin, 1983). From
this perspective, cross-cultural research on love seems more than
necessary. Although the STLS sometimes has been used in
different cultures (Cassepp-Borges & Martins Teodoro, 2009;
Ng & Cheng, 2010), with rare exeptions, available research
involving non-Western samples has not focused on the psycho-
metric properties of the STLS, including tests of its cultural
invariance. Considering that some previous studies on the
STLS (even those involving exclusively American respondents)
reveal certain psychometric problems, examining the properties
of this scale in other cultures seems warranted to further test the
universality of the Triangular Theory of Love and to assess the
properties of the scale as proposed as a measure of love in this
theory. It will allow for the usage of the STLS in further, cross-
cultural studies that are necessary to form conclusions about love
that would be broader, richer and not bound to one, specific
culture.
The Present Study
To address the issue of the rather inconsistent and culturally
homogeneous body of previous psychometric research regard-
ing the STLS, we conducted a large-scale cross-cultural study
with the use of this scale. In total, we examined more than
11,000 respondents, who underwent exactly the same research
procedure, completing the 45-item version of STLS in order to
assess its validity and reliability. Our cross-cultural sample
included also non-Western countries (see Methods section).
Moreover, our participant pool covered both students and
community members. The presented project had several
research aims:
A) testing the universality of the Triangular Theory of Love;
B) testing the differences in love components at various
stages of a relationship, following the ideas suggested by
Sternberg (1986) (further evidence of the accuracy of the pro-
posed construct);
C) testing the cross-country equivalence (measurement
invariance) of the STLS in order to allow for proper cross-
cultural use of this questionnaire; to complete this research
aim, we decided to limit our sample to countries with a sample
size of more than 150 participants per country who declared
being in a relationship at the time of scale completion;
D) preparing and publishing versions of the STLS that will
be usable in various types of studies involving the love variable
in a number of non-English speaking countries.
Method
Participants
The current research comprised 11,422 participants from 45
countries who completed the STLS. The participants were
recruited to take part in a global study that comprised also
a few other questionnaires, unrelated to these study aims. The
inclusion criteria were age above 18 years and sufficient literacy
to complete the questionnaire; we did not specify the desired
education or work profile. To ensure high diversity of the
participants, the researchers working in given study sites were
instructed to recruit a sample wherein students would consti-
tute a maximum of 50% of the participating group.
We were interested in current romantic relationships.
Therefore, for the purpose of further investigation, we pro-
ceeded with a two-step selection process.
First, we excluded all participants who declared being single
(n = 1724, 15%), divorced (n = 148, 1.3%) or widowed (n = 20,
0.1%) at the time of the study. Thus, all participants in the final
sample were in a relationship. The participants who declared
being in a relationship at the time of the study were addition-
ally questioned about the type and duration of their relation-
ship, and the final sample comprised n = 3629 (49.5%) dating,
n = 887 (12.1%) engaged, and n = 2816 (38.4%) married parti-
cipants; the mean relationship duration was almost 8 years
(M = 91.30 months, SD = 111.46). The participants were not
required to provide any other details regarding their family
status (e.g., living arrangement).
Second, we excluded all countries with a total sample size
lower than 150 participants. As illustrated in Table S1 (see
supplementary files), this resulted in a total sample of 7332
participants from 25 countries included in the final analysis:
Algeria (DZ), Australia (AU), Belgium (BE), Brazil (BR), Cuba
(CU), Estonia (EE), Croatia (HR), Hungary (HU), India (IN),
Italy (IT), Lithuania (LT), the Netherlands (NL), Pakistan (PK),
Poland (PL), Portugal (PT), Romania (RO), Russia (RU),
Serbia (XS), Slovakia (SK), Slovenia (SI), Spain (ES), Turkey
(TR), Uganda (UG), Uruguay (UY), Vietnam (VN)). In the
final sample, our participants’ ages ranged from 18 to 76
(M = 30.67, SD = 11.10). There were 3288 (44.9%) men and
4028 (55.1%) women; 16 people did not indicate their sex. The
whole sample was almost evenly distributed across a student
sample (44%) and a community sample (56%).
The database with raw data (Supplementary File 1) includes
11,422 participants from 45 countries. Although the final ana-
lyses were conducted for 25 countries (as mentioned above),
Supplementary File 1 contains data on all participants, includ-
ing those who declared that they were single, divorced, or
THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH 3
widowed, and on all countries, including those with sample
sizes <150 (i.e., Austria (AT), Bulgaria (BG), Chile (CN), China
(CL), Colombia (CO), Costa Rica (CR), El Salvador (SV),
Georgia (GE), Germany (DE), Greece (GR), Indonesia (ID),
Iran (IR), Jordan (JO), Malaysia (MY), Mexico (MX), Nigeria
(NG), Norway (NO), Peru (PE), South Korea (KR), Sweden
(SW), United States (US)).
All the data presented in Supplementary File 1 can be used
for the purpose of other research, without additional requests,
but citing this article.
Instrument
All participants filled out the 45-item version of STLS, with 15
items measuring intimacy (sample item: “I receive considerable
emotional support from ___.”), 15 – passion (sample item:
“There is nothing more important to me than my relationship
with ___”) and 15 – commitment (sample item: “I view my
relationship with ___ as permanent.”). The subjects were asked
to rate their agreement with each statement on a 9-point Likert
scale ranging between 1 (not at all) and 9 (extremely). Internal
consistency of the scales was very high: intimacy, Cronbach’s
α = .93, passion α = .92, and commitment α = .92.
The participants completed the scale in their native lan-
guages. At each study site where English was not a primary
language, local authors were asked to conduct a translation/
back-translation procedure (Sechrest et al., 1972). This process
typically involves the primary collaborator translating the mea-
sures into the native language and then the second collaborator
translating the measures back into English. Differences
between the original English scale and back-translation were
to be discussed and mutual agreements were to be made on the
most appropriate translation. If there were two or more groups
collecting data in one country, the experimenters were
informed that they should arrange translation and back trans-
lation collaboratively between groups. Questionnaires trans-
lated into all languages are attached as supplementary
materials (Supplementary File 2) and might be used for further
studies, without additional requests, after citing this article.
Procedure
The global study protocol was approved by the Ethics
Committee of Institute of Psychology (University of
Wroclaw), and local collaborators obtained additional permits
when this was legally required. All participants provided writ-
ten informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.
All authors received the study questionnaire before the
study began from the corresponding author of the study and
were asked to provide feedback about the cultural appropriate-
ness of the applied questions (e.g., potential cultural taboos
related to some items/response options). The measures
included in the final version of the questionnaire as well as
format and response options for all questions were the same in
all participating countries.
Data collection was conducted simultaneously across all
study locations. To ensure similar recruitment methods and
study procedure across all study sites, the researchers received
a version of the questionnaire that also included instructions to
the researcher (explaining, e.g., the sequence of scale presenta-
tion, coding procedure) and detailed data-collection protocols.
The authors were instructed that the study participants should
be recruited among community members and students (with
the student sample not exceeding 50% of the total sample) by
means of posters, leaflets, press releases, university websites,
and social media. The testing sessions were to be conducted
face-to-face or – when it was possible to ensure necessary
privacy for all participants – in group meetings. The data
could not be collected over the Internet, but the use of com-
puter software during the testing sessions was allowed.
Participants were given a set of questionnaires, including the
love scale, and several unrelated questionnaires in the context
of a broader cross-cultural research project (see e.g., Conroy-
Beam et al., 2019; Walter et al., 2020)
The data from each study site were coded based on an
exemplary questionnaire provided by the corresponding
author, with input in individual Excel databases, standardized
in advance, and afterward merged.
Results
All descriptive statistics are presented in Table 1. The first
research problem of our investigation was the discovery of
the psychometric parameters of the STLS. More specifically,
the aim of our first analysis was to examine if the assumed,
three-factor structure of this instrument replicated in our data-
set. The second of our analyses focused on the measurement
invariance of the STLS, including the test of configural invar-
iance (i.e., whether the same, three-factor structure of STLS
exists across countries); metric invariance, which requires that
all factorial loadings are the same in all countries; and scalar
invariance, which shows that differences in the means of STLS
scales may be attributed to the underlying, latent constructs
intimacy, passion, and commitment. In other words, configural
invariance requires that the fit of the three-factor model in
multi-group confirmatory factor analysis is above the recom-
mended criteria (Hu & Bentler, 1999): a Comparative Fit Index
(CFI) and Tucker Lewis Index (TLI) above .90 were interpreted
as showing adequate fit (and values above .95 as showing good
fit), a root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA)
below .08, and a standardized root mean square residual
(SRMR) below .06, indicating no misfit. Metric invariance
provides an additional constraint into the model, as it requires
factor loadings to be equal, while scalar invariance additionally
forces measurement intercepts to be equal (see: Chen, 2007;
Cheung & Rensvold, 2002).
The overall fit of the model estimated in the laavan pack-
age for R (Rosseel, 2012) with Weighed Least Square with
adjusted Means (WLSM) estimator on the total sample was
good, with CFI = .950, TLI = .948, RMSEA = .068 (90% CI:
.066-.069) and SRMR = .048. As illustrated in Figure 1,
although the latent correlations between variables were high:
r = .75 between intimacy and passion, r = .81 between inti-
macy and commitment and r = .80 between passion and
commitment, they fell below r = .85, that is, the recom-
mended cutoff for low discriminant validity (Kline, 2011).
All factor loadings were robust (Table 2), ranging from
λ = .62 to λ = .81 in the case of intimacy (median λ = .73),
4P. SOROKOWSKI ET AL.
from λ = .57 to λ = .78 in the case of passion (median λ = .74),
and from λ = .71 to λ = .85 in the case of commitment
(median λ = .79). High factor loadings resulted in very high
composite reliability of latent factors (Hancock & Mueller,
2001): H = .94 in the case of intimacy, H = .94 in the case of
passion, and H = .96 in the case of commitment.
To examine measurement invariance across countries, we
proceeded with a series of three multi-group CFA models,
adding constraints at each step. The first model tested config-
ural invariance (the same three-factor structure in all coun-
tries). The second model examined metric invariance (equality
of forced factor loadings across countries), while the third
tested scalar invariance (equality of measurement intercepts).
We relied on usually applied cutoff criteria recommended for
testing measurement invariance (Chen, 2007; Cheung &
Rensvold, 2002): a change of CFI (∆CFI) of less than .01
(∆CFI < .01) and a change of RMSEA of less than .015
(∆RMSEA < .015), which indicate that compared models do
not differ in terms of model fit.
As shown in Table 3, the fit of all models was acceptable
according to these criteria. Importantly, the decrease in fit of
a more constrained model in comparison to a more liberal
Table 1. Descriptive statistics.
Sample Size Men Women Age (M, SD) Dating Engaged Married Intimacy (M, SD) Passion (M, SD) Commitment (M, SD)
AU Australia 256 44.9% 55.1% 31,93 (10,71) 49.2% 10.5% 40.2% 8,07 (0,85) 7,1 (1,49) 8,01 (1,08)
BE Belgium 255 44.3% 55.7% 30,63 (9,82) 66.7% 6.3% 27.1% 7,88 (0,86) 6,95 (1,3) 7,85 (1,05)
BR Brazil 179 48.0% 52.0% 31,01 (13,04) 57.5% 3.4% 39.1% 7,84 (0,91) 7,22 (1,22) 7,92 (1,06)
CU Cuba 177 47.4% 52.6% 33,1 (13,69) 13.0% 46.9% 40.1% 8,11 (1,16) 7,03 (1,66) 7,72 (1,59)
DZ Algeria 324 44.4% 55.6% 29,86 (7,91) 43.2% 14.5% 42.3% 7,44 (1,26) 7,1 (1,59) 7,8 (1,38)
EE Estonia 153 45.8% 54.2% 28,86 (9,93) 12.4% 63.4% 24.2% 7,7 (0,97) 7,15 (1,33) 7,78 (1,28)
ES Spain 260 38.6% 61.4% 33,68 (13,48) 61.5% 1.9% 36.5% 7,93 (0,96) 7,17 (1,29) 7,93 (1,14)
HR Croatia 228 40.8% 59.2% 33,17 (13,11) 52.6% 1.8% 45.6% 7,96 (0,99) 7,01 (1,44) 7,89 (1,23)
HU Hungary 831 49.9% 50.1% 29,65 (10,89) 62.7% 8.1% 29.2% 8,14 (0,89) 7,53 (1,32) 8,17 (1,22)
IN India 233 48.5% 51.5% 29,97 (10,69) 46.4% 3.9% 49.8% 7,94 (0,93) 7,39 (1,26) 8 (1,14)
IT Italy 285 34.0% 66.0% 33,29 (12,83) 12.6% 47.0% 40.4% 8,06 (0,92) 7,34 (1,26) 8,1 (1,11)
LT Lithuania 183 50.3% 49.7% 29,7 (10,82) 58.5% 3.8% 37.7% 7,84 (1,06) 6,88 (1,63) 7,84 (1,28)
NL Netherlands 153 43.4% 56.6% 34,24 (14,96) 60.1% 3.3% 36.6% 7,73 (0,91) 6,81 (1,27) 7,65 (1,05)
PK Pakistan 472 47.5% 52.5% 28,1 (8,9) 44.7% 20.6% 34.7% 6,57 (1,37) 6,2 (1,4) 6,73 (1,57)
PL Poland 386 54.8% 45.2% 28,55 (9,19) 47.7% 16.8% 35.5% 7,87 (1,15) 7,28 (1,39) 7,87 (1,39)
PT Portugal 156 37.7% 62.3% 29,1 (9,17) 64.7% 3.2% 32.1% 8,16 (0,79) 7,63 (1,22) 8,03 (1,06)
RO Romania 151 50.3% 49.7% 30,17 (11,19) 1.3% 60.9% 37.7% 8,07 (1,08) 7,29 (1,56) 7,84 (1,62)
RU Russia 161 44.1% 55.9% 30,37 (10,61) 37.9% 5.6% 56.5% 7,81 (1,2) 6,84 (1,61) 7,86 (1,36)
SI Slovenia 466 49.6% 50.4% 32,59 (11,72) 59.9% 2.8% 37.3% 8,1 (0,93) 7,14 (1,35) 8,13 (1,04)
SK Slovakia 289 24.9% 75.1% 30,28 (13,24) 62.6% 4.8% 32.5% 7,94 (0,95) 6,88 (1,5) 8,04 (1,1)
TR Turkey 648 43.6% 56.4% 31,67 (12,02) 52.9% 3.9% 43.2% 7,56 (1,46) 6,58 (1,75) 7,19 (1,87)
UG Uganda 171 59.6% 40.4% 29,12 (7,91) 37.4% 21.6% 40.9% 6,77 (1,36) 6,43 (1,59) 6,83 (1,74)
UY Uruguay 214 38.8% 61.2% 29,85 (10,39) 76.2% 3.7% 20.1% 8,07 (0,96) 6,68 (1,5) 7,78 (1,27)
VN Vietnam 334 38.6% 61.4% 30,31 (5,82) 26.6% 2.1% 71.3% 7,28 (1,36) 6,72 (1,55) 7,52 (1,5)
XS Serbia 367 45.2% 54.8% 30,19 (11,37) 61.6% 2.2% 36.2% 8,02 (1,02) 6,96 (1,52) 7,7 (1,3)
Total 7332 44.9% 55.1% 30,67 (11,11) 49.5% 12.1% 38.4% 7,78 (1,17) 7,01 (1,5) 7,75 (1,4)
Figure 1. The overall three-factor model of love as measured by STLS.
THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH 5
configural and metric invariance model did not exceed the
usually recommended criteria – the difference between the
configural and the scalar model was estimated at ΔCFI = .014
and ΔRMSEA = .004, while the difference between the config-
ural and the metric model was ΔCFI = .003 and
ΔRMSEA = .003, and between the metric and the scalar
model, ΔCFI = .016 and ΔRMSEA = .008. Therefore, we con-
clude that the STLS in our study was invariant across countries.
We additionally tested measurement invariance across men
and women. It became apparent that, also in this case,
configural (CFI = .949, RMSEA = .069), metric (CFI = .967,
RMSEA = .055) and scalar (CFI = .965, RMSEA = .056) invar-
iance were satisfactory.
In an attempt to examine if the levels of scores on love
factors differed depending on relationship duration, we con-
ducted a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), with
scores on love factors as dependent variables and relationship
length categorized into 7 categories (up to 1 year, 1–3 years,
3–6 years, 6–10 years, 10–15 years, 15–20 years, and 21 or
more years). This analysis was conducted for participants
from all countries, including those with fewer than 150 par-
ticipants per country. Given that there were some missing
data in the question about the relationship’s length, the
sample size varied, as illustrated by degrees of freedom.
There were statistically significant differences across cate-
gories in the case of intimacy, F(6, 6153) = 5.42, p < .001,
η
p2
= .005, passion, F(6, 6153) = 11.96, p < .001, η
p2
= .012
and commitment, F(6, 6153) = 19.54, p < .001, η
p2
= .019.
As illustrated in Figure 2, levels of intimacy differed,
depending on relationship duration. It was lowest in relation-
ships lasting up to 1 year, slightly higher for relationships
lasting 1–3 years, followed by those lasting 3–6 years, and
then again lower in couples who were together for
6–10 years, 10–15 years, 15–20 years, and 21 or more years.
A pairwise comparison with Sidak corrections showed signifi-
cant differences in the declared intensity of intimacy between
participants who stayed in the relationship up to 1 year and
these with 3–6-years-long experience (p < .001), as well as
between these who stayed in the relationship for 3–6 years
and participants with a 6–10-years-long experience (p = .01)
and over 20 years-long experience (p = .005).
Levels of passion also differed across relationships with
different durations, with the highest levels reported in cou-
ples of the shortest relationship duration, and the lowest
levels of passion observed in couples of the longest duration
(see Figure 2). Pairwise comparisons showed statistically
significant differences between participants in the shortest
relationships (up-to-1-year) and those in relationships of
1–3 years (p = .004), 3–6 years (p = .006), as well as
those in relationships of 20 years or longer (p = .008).
People staying in the relationship for 1–3 years declared
significantly higher passion than those with 6–10 years
(p = .02), 15–20 year-long relationships (p = .008), or
21 years or more of experience (p < .001). Participants
whose relationships lasted 3–6 years were more passionate
than those with the shortest experience (up-to-1-year,
p = .006), as well as those who were in their relationship
for 6–10 years (p = .02), 15–20 years (p = .008) or 21 or
more years (p < .001). Finally, people with 10–15 years in
their relationship declared higher passion than those with
20-year or longer relationships (p = .009).
In the case of commitment, people with the shortest experi-
ence in their relationship (up-to-1-year) were characterized by
significantly lower commitment than those in all remaining
categories (all ps < .001). Participants with slightly longer
relationships (1–3 years) were less committed than those stay-
ing in the relationship for 3–6 years (p = .01), or over 20 years
(p = .008) (see Figure 2 for details).
Table 2. Details of confirmatory analysis results.
Unstandardized
Estimate SE
Standardized
Estimate P
Intimacy
Intimacy1 1.000 0.922
Intimacy2 1.262 0.037 0.750 <.001
Intimacy3 1.152 0.039 0.682 <.001
Intimacy4 0.855 0.029 0.615 <.001
Intimacy5 1.103 0.037 0.675 <.001
Intimacy6 1.329 0.044 0.751 <.001
Intimacy7 1.074 0.035 0.706 <.001
Intimacy8 1.150 0.041 0.682 <.001
Intimacy9 1.122 0.038 0.806 <.001
Intimacy10 1.260 0.042 0.809 <.001
Intimacy11 1.298 0.044 0.772 <.001
Intimacy12 1.179 0.041 0.702 <.001
Intimacy13 1.405 0.051 0.735 <.001
Intimacy14 1.256 0.044 0.746 <.001
Intimacy15 1.328 0.046 0.725 <.001
Passion
Passion1 1.000 1.231
Passion2 1.000 0.020 0.702 <.001
Passion3 1.181 0.026 0.737 <.001
Passion4 0.970 0.020 0.740 <.001
Passion5 1.059 0.027 0.574 <.001
Passion6 1.403 0.033 0.800 <.001
Passion7 1.200 0.028 0.776 <.001
Passion8 1.264 0.032 0.719 <.001
Passion9 1.000 0.026 0.658 <.001
Passion10 1.259 0.029 0.751 <.001
Passion11 1.244 0.029 0.734 <.001
Passion12 1.356 0.034 0.746 <.001
Passion13 1.192 0.028 0.762 <.001
Passion14 1.138 0.027 0.603 <.001
Passion15 1.114 0.026 0.608 <.001
Commitment
Commitment1 1.000 1.035
Commitment2 1.226 0.028 0.801 <.001
Commitment3 1.271 0.034 0.720 <.001
Commitment4 1.395 0.037 0.809 <.001
Commitment5 1.428 0.037 0.783 <.001
Commitment6 1.490 0.041 0.766 <.001
Commitment7 1.213 0.033 0.729 <.001
Commitment8 1.338 0.034 0.837 <.001
Commitment9 1.531 0.042 0.736 <.001
Commitment10 1.395 0.032 0.848 <.001
Commitment11 1.454 0.038 0.817 <.001
Commitment12 1.312 0.034 0.828 <.001
Commitment13 1.045 0.030 0.710 <.001
Commitment14 1.159 0.029 0.813 <.001
Commitment15 1.121 0.030 0.711 <.001
Table 3. A summary of measurement invariance tests.
Invariance χ
2
(df)CFI RMSEA Δχ
2
df) ΔCFI ΔRMSEA
Configural 15,813 (23,550) .939 .077
Metric 31,776 (24,558) .941 .073 2258 (1008) .003 .003
Scalar 37,141 (25,566) .925 .081 11,185.3 (1008) .016 .008
6P. SOROKOWSKI ET AL.
Discussion
Our large, cross-cultural study results show that, as assumed,
the Triangular Theory of Love has a three-factor structure in
a global sample. We tested configural invariance, metric invar-
iance, and scalar invariance of the STLS scale measuring love,
and our data confirmed the cultural universality of the theore-
tical construct of love presented by Sternberg (1986, 1988,
1997). Our outcomes support the further use of versions of
STLS scales employed in the current research (see
Supplementary File 1) and open new possibilities for studies,
including cross-cultural, that would require testing partici-
pants’ love levels.
Differences in the love components we observed between
couples varying in relationship length are yet another empirical
demonstration consistent with the Triangular Love Theory, as
suggested by Sternberg (1986) and other authors (e.g.,
Wojciszke, 2002). Passion was the highest in couples of short
relationship duration, while commitment exhibited a positive
association with relationship length. However, it should be
highlighted that, although the differences in the levels of love
components were statistically significant, their absolute sizes
were rather low. Additionally, our comparisons were cross-
sectional, not longitudinal.
Although the trends we observed are consistent with tem-
poral dynamics predicted by Triangular Love Theory, we only
analyzed differences attributed entirely to relationship dura-
tion. These outcomes might be associated also with other
factors predicted by relationship length, or certain biases
resulting from short- and long-term couples’ sample charac-
teristics. For example, short-term, less intimate and less com-
mitted relationships of some respondents could have dissolved
too quickly to be included in the analyses, or some individuals
in a long-term partnership characterized by low levels of all
love components could have refused to participate in a study
on their relationship. Therefore, our data are a valuable starting
point for the analyses of dynamics of love and provide some
suggestive information, but their implications should not be
overstated.
The Triangular Theory of Love is a prominent theoretical
love concept used in empirical research (e.g., Billedo et al., 2015;
Sabiniewicz et al., 2017; Weisman et al., 2015). Unfortunately,
similar to other studies from the area of social sciences (see
Henrich et al., 2010), previous research comprised almost exclu-
sively Western samples. One of the most important aims of the
current research was to enrich the existing research by conduct-
ing a large-scale cross-cultural study. We also hope that the
collected data and possibilities provided by the STLS versions
adapted in a few dozen countries will further promote future
research on the Triangular Theory of Love, as all our data are
free for use by any interested person. Based on the current
dataset, scientists can conduct numerous analyses and publish
articles concerning various love-related research questions: They
can examine cross-cultural differences in sexual or marital satis-
faction, identifying other country-level predictors of love.
Although differences in love levels have been investigated in
some cross-cultural studies (e.g., Dion & Dion, 1996;
Karandashev, 2017; De Munck & Korotayev, 1999), due to the
vast amount of data from this study, our results and dataset may
also serve as a reference point in further studies regarding love.
Cultural dimensions might influence romantic relationships
(Dion & Dion, 1993). For example, Gao (2001) found that the
level of passion was higher in American compared with
Chinese couples, while intimacy and commitment did not
vary between the samples. On the other hand, another study
comparing European and Chinese Canadians found differ-
ences between these two samples, with Chinese Canadians
scoring lower than European Canadians, a difference mediated
by gender-role traditionalism (Marshall, 2008). To further
investigate the bases of such differences, new studies based on
our data might include various, new potential country-level
Figure 2. Differences in the intensity of love aspects depending on the relationship’s length. Note. Potential scores on y-axis range from 1 to 9.
THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH 7
predictors, for example, Schwartz’s value orientations
(Schwartz, 2006), Hofstede’s culture dimensions (Hofstede,
2001), or other variables likely related to love, like partnership
satisfaction (Sorokowski, Randall, et. al., 2017).
Additionally, there are certain individual-level predictors
that could affect love, like family and residential status (e.g.,
couples living apart without children; married couples living
with extended family; married couples with a few young chil-
dren), or work backgrounds (e.g., rural farmers, undergraduate
students, working class participants in large cities) of the par-
ticipants. These elements could be tested in further research
and analyzed together with country-level data, which would
allow for the creation of comprehensive, multi-level models.
Nonetheless, it would be interesting to analyze (with a number
of different measures) which aspects/factors/components of love
are the most universal culturally. There are interesting studies that
describe a common, “core” structure of romantic love and explain
its variations in the context of cultural differences (Hatfield &
Rapson, 1996; De Munck et al., 2011; Nelson & Yon, 2019). Our
study, confirming the cross-cultural existence of the three love
components, suggests that this universal “core” structure might
comprise factors quantified by all these components. However,
previous cross-cultural research has been rather limited and stu-
dies employed a variety of measures to test love. It is thus hard to
draw any definite conclusions on core/universal love factors, the
only exception being perhaps the common existence of the “pas-
sion”, “desire” or “eros” element (Karandashev, 2017).
Nevertheless, the fact that at least some aspects of love appear
universal (Jankowiak, 1995; Jankowiak & Fischer, 1992;
Karandashev, 2017) indicates that love might have a biological
basis and/or additional evolutionary importance (Diamond &
Dickenson, 2012; Fisher, 2004; Gray & Garcia, 2013). Love can
be based on neural mechanisms (Bartels & Zeki, 2004; Fisher
et al., 2002), hormonal factors (Marazziti & Canale, 2004;
P. Sorokowski et al., 2019), and/or aspects related to biological
fitness (Hopcroft, 2006; Sorokowski, Sorokowska, et al., 2017).
Therefore, linking particular love components with cultural and
biological factors definitely warrants further investigation.
The results suggest also another further research direction.
In our study and in previous work (Acker & Davis, 1992;
Chojnacki, 1990; C. Hendrick & Hendrick, 1989), the correla-
tions among subscales have been substantial despite discrimi-
nant validity among the three scales of the STLS. One possible
reason is simply that intimacy, passion, and commitment tend
to occur together in most, although certainly not all, love
relationships. Especially in the early stages of a successful rela-
tionship, people may idealize their partners (Hall & Taylor,
1976; Murray & Holmes, 1997) and highly agree with (positive)
statements in the STLS. Therefore, it may be advisable, in the
future, to think about behavioral or even psychophysiological
measures that would correspond to the three aspects of love –
intimacy, passion, and commitment – and that might be less
susceptible to halo effects (Nisbett & Wilson, 1977) than rat-
ings that are expressed on a Likert scale.
It needs to be noted that our study has certain limitations that
could be remedied in future research. In addition to the cross-
sectional nature of our data, which was discussed above, the
most important issue is the number of countries that had to be
excluded from our main analysis. This was related to an
insufficient number of participants in relationships who com-
pleted the questionnaire in some countries. Nevertheless, our
database has been published in an open-access format and
interested researchers might either use it to test their hypotheses
or – possibly – continue the data collection to conduct analyses
related to the universality of the Triangular Theory of Love
among an even more impressive number of countries.
To sum up, the current research provided evidence to sup-
port aspects of construct validity across cultures for the
Triangular Love Scale, and consequently provided additional
support for the Triangular Theory of Love. We hope other
researchers will accept our invitation to further analyze our
data and also to conduct their own studies on the structure of
love across a large range of cultures.
Acknowledgments
We would like to thank the Editor - Cynthia A. Graham - for her kind help
and assistance.
Funding
This study was supported by National Science Center—Poland [2014/13/
B/HS6/02644]. Butovskaya M., and Dronova D. were supported by state
assignment of the Institute of ethnology and anthropology, Moscow,
Russia.
ORCID
Carlota Batres http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3833-7667
Marina Butovskaya http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5528-0519
Hakan Çetinkaya http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5585-8678
Dominika Chabin http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6618-8240
Marcin Czub http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0184-8284
Berna Ertugrul http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4966-601X
Ignacio Estevan http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4743-1310
Konstantinos Kafetsios http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5933-4409
Mohammad Madallh Alhabahba http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4269-
8457
Mario Sainz Martinez http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2048-5872
Norbert Meskó http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4355-9563
Anna Oleszkiewicz http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2217-1858
Baris Özener http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2986-9052
Ariela Francesca Pagani http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7149-9350
Miriam Parise http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2150-6636
Aneta Przepiórka http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6722-7355
Joanna Różycka-Tran http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1131-3910
Meri Tadinac http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3770-9000
Truong Thi Khanh Ha http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3940-8399
Robert J. Sternberg http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7191-5169
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10 P. SOROKOWSKI ET AL.
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This volume presents a conceptual, historical, anthropological, and sociological review of how culture affects our experience and expression of romantic love. What is romantic love and how is it different from and similar to other kinds of love? How is romantic love related to sex and marriage in human history and across contemporary cultures? What cultural factors mediate attraction in love? These are some of the questions the volume explores through its interdisciplinary yet focused lens. Much of the current research evidence suggests that love is a universal emotion experienced by a majority of people, in various historical eras, and in all the world’s cultures. Yet, love displays in different ways because culture has an impact on people’s conceptions of love and the ways they feel, think, and behave in romantic relationships. This volume summarizes classical knowledge on love and culture while at the same time focusing sharply on recent studies and cutting-edge research that has advanced the field. Divided into three parts, the volume begins by defining and analyzing the concept of romantic love and interdisciplinary approach to its study in cultural context. Part II traces the origin and evolution of romantic love both in various places throughout the world and various time periods throughout history. Part III presents the revolutionary expansion of romantic love ideas and practices in the late 20th and early 21st centuries in various parts of the world, focusing particularly on the development of romantic love as a cultural ideal of the modern cultures. Finally, the book concludes by summarizing the major achievements in this field of study and predicts future development. A timely and thoughtful addition to the literature, Romantic Love in Cultural Contexts delivers thought-provoking insights to researchers in relationship scholarship, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies, and all those interested in the universal human concept of love.