Relational Sacrifices about Intimate Behavior and Relationship Quality for Expectant Cohabitors

Melissa A Curran, Tricia J. Burke, Valerie J. Young, Casey J. Totenhagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: Using interdependence theory, we examined how relational sacrifices specific to intimacy were associated with positive (commitment, satisfaction, love, and maintenance) and negative (ambivalence and conflict) relationship quality among expectant, unmarried cohabitors (n = 69 individuals), because this group may struggle relationally. We examined how often individuals made sacrifices for their partners and their partners’ perceived awareness of their sacrifices (i.e., individuals’ perceptions that their partners are aware that intimate sacrifices had been made for them) for both members of the couple using Actor Partner Independence Models. We controlled for children from previous relationships, unplanned pregnancy, gender, education, and race/ethnicity. Results showed that frequency of intimate sacrifices was not associated with any aspects of relationship quality. Instead, as expected, perceived partner awareness of intimate sacrifice was associated with greater commitment, satisfaction, love, and maintenance for individuals; lower ambivalence for individuals; and lower conflict for both individuals and their partners. These results suggest that for expectant cohabitors, perceived partner awareness of intimate sacrifices is central to achieving more positive, and less negative, relationship quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-460
Number of pages19
JournalMarriage and Family Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 3 2016


  • APIM
  • cohabitors
  • intimacy
  • relational sacrifices
  • relationship quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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