Editorial Synthesis for 2 in 2023: A Collaboration Between IARR’s Two Journals: Recognizing the Need for Greater Inclusivity in Relationship Science

Melissa A. Curran, Ashley K. Randall

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The idea for this special issue came from the current Editors of the Journal for Social and Personal Relationships and Personal Relationships, who wanted to forge a collaboration between the International Association for Relationship Research’s two journals. This collaboration came at a time when issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion were being brought to light in science, broadly defined. Stemming from such discussions, for this special issue, the Editors asked 10 sets of authors to apply an intersectional lens – grounded in Crenshaw’s (1989, 1991) definition of intersectionality and drawing from questions posed by Cole (2009) – to their systematic review of literature from the past 20 years (1992–2022) and to answer these three questions: (1) from whose vantage point is the research being conducted, (2) what types of questions are valued, and (3) who is included in the research versus who is being left out/whose voices are missing. Manuscripts in the special issue include these topics: (a) affectionate communication, health, and relationships, (b) romantic relationship maintenance behaviors, (c) relationship maintenance among military couples, (d) relational sacrifices, (e) LGBTQ-inclusive research, (f) stress, support, and coping for romantic couples, (g) daily stress and romantic relationship quality, (h) infidelity, (i) relationship dissolution, and (j) the longitudinal study of romantic close relationships. Across the reviews, authors noted many of the same patterns; most studies included samples from the U.S., wherein participants identified as White, heterosexual, and female; however, military samples were dominated by men. The methods employed were largely quantitative, cross-sectional, and/or with data coming from surveys. Observations during the review process included the role of positionality as well as greater knowledge gained about the critical framework of intersectionality, specifically acknowledging that elements of diversity in sampling methods are not an application of intersectionality; rather, intersectionality places central focus on (a) how multiply marginalized social identities have been historically oppressed and (b) how systems of power, oppression, and privilege construct, reproduce, and sustain those multiply marginalized social identities. Recommendations for future relationship science are presented, specifically in how our fields can benefit from learning from the lens of intersectionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-733
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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