Love styles: Attitudes or personality traits?



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Love is recognized as an integral part of society and the human condition. Despite love's importance, however, there is no consensus of definition. Because no generally accepted definition exists, theories about the underlying nature of love are numerous and varied. In the present study, Lee's typology of love was examined because of its empirical derivation, independent replication, extensive validation, and because it encompassed other, less extensive love theories. In 1986, C. Hendrick and S. S. Hendrick explored the question of whether Lee's love styles tapped enduring personality traits or more transient attitudes. A series of studies were conducted to examine this question. Based on factor analysis results, the researchers concluded in 1988 that the various love styles appeared to be the result of attitudinal components rather than more enduring personality traits. The current study was designed to more closely examine love as an attitude through use of experimental manipulation of two targeted love styles. Pragma and Mania. The population sample consisted of 245 undergraduate students from a large Southwestern university. Subjects were provided either a pro-Pragma or anti-Mania persuasive argument. It was hypothesized that subjects in the pro- Pragma condition would be more endorsing of the Pragma love style than subjects in either the anti-Mania or control conditions. It was further hypothesized that subjects in the anti-Mania condition would be less endorsing of the Mania love style than subjects in either the pro-Pragma or control conditions. The two hypotheses were confirmed. Study results strongly support the concept that love is comprised of attitudinal components and are consistent with the C. Hendrick and S. S. Hendrick 1988 factor analysis findings. Theoretical and clinical implications were discussed and directions for future research were suggested.



Love, Personality, Attitude (Psychology)