Relationship standards and satisfaction in Chinese, Western and intercultural Chinese-Western couples in Australia
Hiew, Danika N.
Halford, W. Kim
Van de Vijver, Fons J.R.
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This study compared the endorsement of Chinese and Western relationship standards by Chinese, Western, and intercultural Chinese–Western couples. All couples were living in Australia. Couples’ relationship standards differed in line with predictions. Western couples rated intimacy and the demonstration of love and caring (assessed by the Couple Bond scale) as more important for a successful couple relationship than Chinese couples. Chinese couples rated relations with the extended family, relational harmony, face maintenance, and traditional gender roles (assessed by the Family Responsibility scale) as more important than Western couples. Intercultural couples endorsed the standards to an extent that was intermediate between the Chinese and Western couples. Cultural differences were smaller on Couple Bond standards (small to medium effects) than on Family Responsibility standards (medium to large effects). Almost all cultural combinations of partners shared greater similarity on Couple Bond and Family Responsibility standards than would be expected by chance, with the notable exception that Chinese women’s standards were less similar to their male partner’s standards than was the case for Western women. Across cultural combinations of partners, high endorsement of Couple Bond standards, low endorsement of Family Responsibility standards, and high agreement between partners on both standards predicted high relationship satisfaction. Our results suggest that partner selection and convergence on relationship standards are important avenues for future research.