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Alternative title:

Cultural and environmental predictors of love experiences

Subject and Keywords:

triangular theory of love   Sternberg   intimacy   passion   commitment


Love permeates almost all aspects of human life. Love accompanies humans from early childhood to very late adulthood. Love has a whole range of colors and forms. There is, among others, parental love, brotherly love, friendship love, and romantic love. The latter (romantic love) is the subject of this work. Although many theories attempt to lay a love framework, the present work focused on one of the most widely recognized theories, the Triangular Theory of Love, authored by Robert Sternberg. The primary purpose of this study was to examine whether cultural predictors (operationalized as indexes of modernization, gender equality, and individualism) and environmental predictors (indexes of historical pathogen prevalence), average annual temperatures, and infant mortality rates) are associated with experiences of the three components of love (according to the Triangular Theory of Love, intimacy, passion, and commitment). In a final step, I conducted a mini meta-analysis of both studies to estimate the true effects of associations between love components and cultural and environmental variables at the country level. Once again, the positive associations emerged for levels of intimate love and commitment with the modernization indexes, gender equality, and (in the case of intimacy) individualism and the negative associations of intimate love and commitment with the historical pathogen prevalence index and the mean annual temperature. In the case of passionate love, a negative association with gender equality and with individualism and a positive association with average annual temperatures were confirmed. During the literature review, I observed that many of the researchers using the Triangular Love Scale were actually using various versions of the original TLS-15. Based on this, I decided to conduct a systematic literature review (pilot study 2). I identified a total of 232 studies, of which only 36% used the original TLS-45 scale, 45% used a shortened (in various ways) scale, 11% used a shortened response scale (from 9-item to, 7-, 5-, or 4-item), 6% used one or two subscales, and 2% of the studies did not contain sufficient information to identify the version of the TLS. This large number of studies that used a shortened version of the original questionnaire to measure love suggests that the original 45-item TLS scale may be too long for many research purposes. In view of this, the side goal of the present doctoral thesis became an attempt to validate a shortened version of the Triangular Love Scale (based on the original TLS-45 scale) that would provide future researchers with a reliable and well-validated (yet shorter) tool for measuring the experience of love. For this purpose, I performed Item Response Theory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis on the data from Study 1, and based on this, I selected 15 items (with a shortened 5-point scale) that could form a shortened version of the Triangular Love Scale (TLS-15). In Study 2, I tested whether the TLS-15 retains good psychometric properties, and then (Study 3), I tested the convergent validity and test-retest temporal reliability of the TLS-15. The results of the analyses provided evidence that the TLS-15 is valid (comparable to the TLS-45 of Study 3) and reliable (comparable to the original TLS-45). In a cross-cultural study (Study 4), I validated the TLS-15 in 37 different languages, demonstrating its invariance equivalence. The TLS-15 scale can serve as a tool for cross-cultural researchers (all language versions are available at the following link: In summary, although the foundations of love are believed to be rooted in human physiology (hence the universality and prevalence of love), cultural and environmental conditions can, to some extent, influence love’s narration and, consequently, love experiences. Moreover, the effects of culture and environment can be observed at both national and individual levels.

Degree discipline:


Degree grantor:

University of Wroclaw. Faculty of Historical and Pedagogical Sciences. Institute of Psychology



Resource Type:


Detailed Type:

electronic document   dissertation




3 MB



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