The Distribution of Chapman’s Love Languages in Couples: An Exploratory Cluster Analysis

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Chapman identified and described Five Love Languages (LLs), principal value systems by which individuals communicate and anticipate expression of affection: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Although Chapman’s model has become embraced by laypeople and helping professionals, it remains relatively underresearched. In this exploratory study, multivariate clustering procedures were used to identify profiles of combinations of LLs (as measured by Chapman’s Love Languages Personal Profile for Couples) in 100 couples. Emphasis was given not only to men’s and women’s primary LLs but also to differences between men and women within each couple as quantified by mean differences and Cohen’s d effect sizes thereof across the combination of all five LLs. In comparing the clustering variable means of the final cluster solution, it was found that the four profiles matched well and varied in a statistically significant manner. The relationship between the four-cluster solution and couples’ reported levels of global relational satisfaction (as measured by the Revised Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale) also was assessed. Although no significant differences were found in the distress profiles across the four clusters (likely due to insufficient variability based on a majority nondistressed sample), results did suggest a trend whereby couples were less likely to report distress the more their combination of LL preferences was congruent. This study makes several methodological contributions to an emerging literature on the LLs, and the results provide a foundation for further research, particularly on how Chapman’s model contributes to understanding the relationships between intimate relationships, self-development, and self-expansion.

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