The Role of Couple Relationship Quality in Predicting of Loneliness

Document Type : Original


1 Ph.D student in psychology, University of TarbiatModares,Tehran Iran

2 Ph.D student in psychology, University of TarbiatModares, Tehran, Iran

3 Assistant Professor of psychology, University of Kharazmi, Tehran, Iran


Purpose: The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of relationship quality and loneliness among married students.
Methods: This study is cross sectional-descriptive and co-relational.  The sample consists of 196 subjects (114 females and 80 males) that selected by stratified random manner from the married students in Tehranuniversities, they answered to Couple Relationship Quality and Short Version of the Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults (SELSA-S) questionnaires. The data were analyzed using statistical correlation,regression and t test methods.
Findings: Findings show thatthere is a significant negative relationship between quality ofcouples relationship and three subscales of loneliness; The quality ofcouples relationshipcan be explained  27% of the variance in romantic loneliness, 17% of the variance infamily loneliness, and  8% of the variance in social loneliness. There was no significant difference between men and women in couple's relationship quality, but in loneliness subscales, women had significantly higher mean in romantic loneliness.
Conclusion: According to this research, it can be concluded that quality of the couple relationship   involved in their loneliness. So in intervention related to the family, strengthen and improve the quality of relationships is recommended as a good way for reducing negative emotions and loneliness and increasing happiness and psychological health.


Antonucci, T., & Akiyama, H. (1987). An examination of sex differences in social
support among older men and women. Sex Roles, 17, 737–749
 Bugay, A. (2007). Loneliness and Life Satisfaction of Turkish University Students.
Paper presented at 4th Education in a Changing Environment Conference, the
University of Salford, UK, September.
 Brownie, S; & Horstmanshof, L.( 2011).The Management of Loneliness in Aged Care
Residents: An Important Therapeutic Target for Gerontological Nursing. Geriatric
Nursing, 32(5), 318-325.
Cutrona, C. E. (1996). Social support in couples: Marriage as a resource in times of
stress. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Depner, C. E., & Ingersoll-Dayton, B. (1985). Conjugal social support: Patterns in later
life. Journal of Gerontology, 40, 761–766.
Ditzen, B; Hahlweg, K; Fehm-Wolfsdorf, G; & Baucom, D. (2011). Assisting couples to
develop healthy relationships: Effects of couples relationship education on cortisol.
Psychoneuroendocrinology 36, 597—607.
DiTomasso E; Brannen, C; & Best, L.A.(2004). Measurement and Validity
Characteristics of the Short Version of the Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for
Adults. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 64; 99-119.
DiTommaso, E & Spinner, B. (1993). The development and initial validation of the
Social and Emotional Loneliness Scale for Adults (SELSA). Journal of Personality
and Individual Differences, 14, 127-134.
DiTommaso, E., & Spinner, B. (1997). Social and emotional loneliness: A
reexamination of Weiss’ typology of loneliness. Personality and Individual
Differences, 22, 417-427
Flora, J., & Segrin, C. (2000). Relationship development in dating couples: Implications
for relational satisfaction and loneliness. Journal of Social and Personal
Relationships, 17 (6), 811-825.
Geiss, S. K., & O'Leary, K. D. (1981). Therapist ratings of frequency and severity of
marital problems: Implications for research. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy,
7, 515-520.
Gove, W. R., Hughes, M., & Style, C. B. (1983). Does marriage have positive effects on
the psychological wellbeing of the individual? Journal of Health and Social Behavior,
24, 122–131.
Grewen, K.M., Girdler, S.S., Light, K.C. (2005). Relationship quality: effects on
ambulatory blood pressure and negative affect in a biracial sample of men and
women. Blood Press Monit. 10, 117— 124.
Gurung, R. A. R., Taylor, S. E., & Seeman, T. E. (2003). Accounting for changes in
social support among married older adults: Insights from the MacArthur studies of
successful aging. Psychology and Aging, 18, 487–496.
Halat, M. I; & Hovardaoğlua, S. (2010). The relations between the attachment styles,
causality and responsibility attributions and loneliness of the married couples in the
context of the investment model. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 2332–2337.
Hawkley, L.C; Thisted, R.A; Masi, C.M; & Cacioppo, J.T. (2010).Loneliness predicts
increased blood pressure: 5 year cross-lagged analyses in middle-aged and older
adults. Psychology Aging, 25(1), 132-41.
Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., & Newton, T. L. (2001). Marriage and health: His and hers.
Psychological Bulletin, 127(4), 472–503.
Lewis, M. A; McBride,C.M; Pollakc, K. I; Puleod, E; Butterfielde, R. M; & Emmons,
K. M .(2006). Understanding health behavior change among couples: An
interdependence and communal coping approach. Social Science & Medicine, 62,
Nummela O, Seppanen M, Uutela A (2011) The effect of loneliness and change in
loneliness on self-rated health (SRH): a longitudinal study among aging people. Arch
Gerontol Geriatr, 53: 163–167
Perlman, D., & Peplau, L.A. (1981). Toward a social psychology of loneliness. In R.
Gilmour, & S. Duck (Eds.), Personal relationships: Personal relations in disorder (pp.
31-56). London: Academic Press
Pinquart, M. (2003). Loneliness in married, widowed, divorced, and never-married
older adults. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 20, 31–53.
Pinquart, M.; Sörensen, S. (2003). Risk factors for loneliness in adulthood and old age
— A meta-analysis. Advances in psychology research, 19, 111-143.
Rokach, A. (1998). The relation of cultural background to the causes of loneliness.
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 17, 75-88.
Rokach, A. (2004). Loneliness then and now. Reflections on social and emotional
alienation in everyday life. Current Psychology, 23 (1)24- 40.
Rokach, A. (2000). Percieved causes of loneliness in adulthood. Journal of Social
Behavior and Personality, 15(1), 67-84.
Ross, C.E., Mirowsky, J; & Goldsteen, K.(1990).The Impact of the Family on Health -
the Decade in Review. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52, 1059-1078.
Ross, C. E. (1995). Reconceptualizing marital status as a continuum of attachment.
Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 129–140.
Rotenberg, K. J., Shewchuk, V., & Kimberley, T. (2001). Loneliness, sex, romantic
jealousy, and powerlessness. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 18 (1),
Russell, D., Peplau, L.A., and Cutrona, C.E. (1980). The revised UCLA Loneliness
Scale: Concurrent and discriminate validity evidence. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 39, 472-480.
Sandford, K. (2006).Communication during marital conflict: When couple alter
appraisal, they change their behavior. J Fam Psychol. 20(2):256-65.
Stevens, N; & Westerhof, G. J. (2006). Partners and others: Social provisions and
loneliness among married Dutch men and women in the second half of life. Journal
of Social and Personal Relationships, 23(6), 921-941.
Segrin, C; Powell, H. L; Givertz, M; & Brackin, A. (2003). Symptoms of depression,
relational quality, and loneliness in dating relationships. Personal Relationships, 10,
Stroebe,W; Stroebe,M; Abakoumkin,G; & Schut,H.(1996). The role of loneliness and
social support in adjustment to loss: A test of attachment versus stress theory.
Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, 70, 1241-1249
Tornstam, L. (1992). Loneliness in marriage. Journal of Social and Personal
Relationships, 9, 197-217.
Umberson, D; & Williams, K. (2005). Marital Quality, Health, and Aging: Gender
Equity? Journal of Gerontol B Psycho Sci Soc Sci, 60, 109–113.
Walen, H. R., & Lachman, M. E. (2000). Social support and strain from partner, family
and friends: Costs and benefits for men and women in adulthood. Journal of Social
and Personal Relationships, 17, 5–30.
West, D. A., Kellner, R., & Moore-West, M. (1986). The effects of loneliness: A review
of the literature. Comprehensive Psychiatry, (27), 4, 351-363.
Williams, K. (2003). Has the future of marriage arrived? A contemporary examination
of gender, marriage, and psychological well-being. Journal of Health and Social
Behavior, 44, 470-487.
Wickrama, K.A.S., Lorenz, F.O., Conger, R.D & Elder, G.H. (1997). Marital quality and
physical illness: A latent growth curve analysis. Journal of Marriage and the Family,
59, 143-155.