Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-42xl8 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-04T04:23:01.541Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Intensity of Love in a Community Sample of Spanish Couples in the Region of Madrid

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 October 2015

María Luisa Cuenca-Montesino
Universidad Complutense (Spain)
José Luis Graña*
Universidad Complutense (Spain)
K. Daniel O’Leary
University of New York at Stony Brook (USA)
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to José Luis Graña Gómez. Facultad de Psicologia. Universidad Complutense. Campus de Somosaguas. 28223. Madrid (Spain). Phone: +34–639139505. E-mail:


Intensity of love was examined in a representative community sample of 2,988 couples, from the Region of Madrid (Spain). Gender differences revealed no significant differences in intensity of love. Twenty-five percent of the participants who were in a relationship of less than 10 years and eleven percent of the participants in a relationship of more than 30 years reported being “very intensely in love” F(3, 5.972) = 191.32, p < .001, ηp2 = 0.08. The cognitive variables, thinking positively about the partner and thinking about the partner when apart, were significant predictors of the intensity of long-term love for both men and women. Affection was also positively associated with intense love for men (r = .47, p < .001) and women (r = .52, p < .001); sexual intercourse was for women (r = .36, p < .001) but not for men. Wanting to know the whereabouts of partner was associated with the intensity of love for women (r = .15, p < .05), but not for men. Engaging in novel activities with partner was not associated with intense love for male or females. As predicted, love declined significantly in the first decade of marriage, but not much after that. The percentage of men and women who reported being intensely in love was lower than that obtained in the U.S.

Research Article
Copyright © Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Acevedo, B. P. (2008). The neural basis of long-term romantic love. (Published doctoral dissertation). Stony Brook: NY: The Graduate School, Stony Brook University.Google Scholar
Acevedo, B. P., & Aron, A. (2009). Does a long-term relationship kill romantic love? Review of General Psychology, 13, 5965. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Adler-Baeder, F., Higginbotham, B., & Lamke, L. (2004). Putting empirical knowledge to work: Linking research and programming on marital quality. Family Relations, 53, 537546. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Aquilino, W. S. (1994). Interview mode effects in surveys of drug and alcohol use: A field experiment. Public Opinion Quarterly, 58, 210240. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barrón López de Rueda, A., Martínez-Íñigo, D., de Paúl, P., & Yela, C. (1999). Romantic Beliefs and Myths in Spain. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 2, 6473. Google Scholar
Bradbury, T. N., & Karney, B. R. (2004). Understanding and altering the longitudinal course of marriage. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66, 862879. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buss, D. M. (2006). The evolution of love. In Sternberg, R. & Weis, K. (Eds.), The new psychology of love (pp. 6586). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Cohen, S., Klein, D. N., & O'Leary, K. D. (2007). The role of separation/divorce in relapse into and recovery from major depression. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24, 855873. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Currivan, D. B., Nyman, A. L., Turner, C. F., & Biener, L. (2004). Does telephone audio computer-assisted self-interviewing improve the accuracy of prevalence estimates of youth smoking? Evidence from the UMass Tobacco Study. Public Opinion Quarterly, 68, 542564. CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Diener, E., & Lucas, R. E. (2000). Explaining differences in societal levels of happiness: Relative standards need fulfillment, culture and evaluation theory. Journal of Happiness Studies, 1, 4178. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Lucas, R. E. (2003). Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: Emotional and cognitive evaluations of life. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 403425. CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Donnelly, D. A. (1993). Sexually inactive marriages. Journal of Sex Research, 30, 171179. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Esteban Galarza, M. L., & Távora Rivero, A. (2008). Romantic love and social subordination of women: Revisions and proposals. Anuario de Psicología/The UB Journal of Psychology, 39, 5973. Google Scholar
Ferrer, V., Bosh, E., Navarro, C., Ramis, M. C., & García, E. (2008). El concepto de amor en España. [The concept of love in a Spanish representative simple]. Psicothema, 20, 589595.Google Scholar
Ferrer Pérez, V. A., Bosch, E., & Navarro Guzmán, C. (2010). Los mitos románticos en España [Myths romantic in Spain]. Boletín de Psicología, 99, 731.Google Scholar
Fisher, H. E. (2006). The drive to love. In Sternberg, R. & Weis, K. (Eds.). The new psychology of love (pp. 87115). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google ScholarPubMed
Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.Google Scholar
Graham, J. M., Liu, Y. J., & Jeziorski, J. L. (2006). The dyadic adjustment scale: A reliability generalization meta-analysis. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 701717. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Graham, J. M., Diebels, K. J., & Barnow, Z. B. (2011). The reliability of relationship satisfaction: A reliability generalization meta-analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(1), 3948. CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hatfield, E., & Rapson, R. L. (1993). Love, sex, and intimacy: Their psychology, biology, and history. New York, NY: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
Hatfield, E., & Sprecher, S. (1986). Measuring passionate love in intimate relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 9, 383410. CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hatfield, E. C., Pillemer, J. T., O’Brien, M. U., & Le, Y. L. (2008). The endurance of love: Passionate and companionate love in newlywed and long-term marriages. Interpersona 2, 3564. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jose, A., Rajaram, S., O'Leary, K. D., & Williams, M. C. (2010). Memory for partner-related stimuli: Free recall and frequency estimation. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27, 658670. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jose, A., O’Leary, K. D., Gomez, J. L. G., & Foran, H. M. (2014). Risk factors for men’s intimate physical aggression in Spain. Journal of Family Violence, 29, 287297. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kelley, H. H., & Thibaut, J. W. (1978). Interpersonal relations: A theory of interdependence. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
Kim, J., & Hatfield, E. (2004). Love types and subjective well-being: A cross-cultural study. Social Behavior and Personality, 32, 173182. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lee, J. A. (1977). A typology of styles of loving. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 3, 173182. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Masuda, M. (2003). Meta-analyses of love scales: Do various love scales measure the same psychological constructs? Japanese Psychological Research, 45, 2537. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Myers, J. E., & Shurts, W. M. (2002). Measuring positive emotionality: A review of instruments assessing love. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 34, 238254.Google Scholar
O’Leary, K. D., Acevedo, B. P., Aron, A., Huddy, L., & Mashek, D. (2012). Is long-term love more than a rare phenomenon? If so, what are its correlates? Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3, 241249. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Riehl-Emde, A., Thomas, V., & Willi, J. (2003). Love: An important dimension in marital research and therapy. Family Process, 42, 253267. CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review, 93, 119135. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ubillos, S., Zubieta, E., Páez, D., Deschamps, J. C., Ezeiza, A., & Vera, A. (2001). Amor, cultura y sexo [Love, culture and sex]. Revista Electrónica de Motivación y Emoción. 4, 89.Google Scholar
Weiss, R. L. (1980). Strategic behavior marital therapy: Toward a model for assessment and intervention. In Vincent, J. P. (Ed.), Advances in Family Intervention, Assessment, and Theory (Vol. 1, pp. 229271). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
Whisman, M. A., & Delinsky, S. S. (2002). Marital satisfaction and an information-processing measure of partner-schemas. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 26, 617627. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yela, C. (1997). Curso temporal de los componentes básicos del amor a lo largo de la relación de pareja. [Temporal course of basic components of love along the couple relationship]. Psicothema, 9, 115.Google Scholar
Yela, C. (2000). Predictors of and factors related to loving and sexual satisfaction for men and women. European Review of Applied Psychology/Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée 50, 235243.Google Scholar
Yela, C. (2003). La otra cara del amor: Mitos, paradojas y problemas. [The other side of love: Myths, paradoxes and problems]. Psicología Social 1, 263267.Google Scholar