Life Satisfaction in Close Relationships: Findings from a Longitudinal Study

Life satisfaction (LS) is closely linked to romantic relationships.


However, we lack knowledge on the nature of the longitudinal associations between LS and relationship quality, as well as on the longitudinal associations between two partners’ LS—especially for persons in long-term relationships. Better understanding of such associations could possibly add to the existing knowledge on how to increase LS. The current study used data from 239 heterosexual couples to examine longitudinal associations between relationship quality and LS over a 3-year period. Associations between one partner’s baseline LS and change in the other partner’s LS from baseline to 3-year follow-up were also examined. Relationship quality predicted change in LS, and LS predicted change in relationship quality. The results also showed that one partner’s LS predicted change in the other partner’s LS over a 3-year period, even when controlling for both partners’ baseline evaluation of relationship quality. The results suggest that a partner’s general LS can increase both the couple’s relationship quality and the other partner’s LS over time. Further, the results also suggest that relationship quality can contribute to positive change of both partners’ LS.

Journal of Happiness Studies, 2016, 17 (3),1293- 1311, doi: 10.1007/s10902-015-9643-7

Published Aug. 22, 2016 7:15 AM