Loving diversity: Examining successful intercultural couple relationships

Hiew, Danika Nadine (2014). Loving diversity: Examining successful intercultural couple relationships PhD Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2014.310

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Author Hiew, Danika Nadine
Thesis Title Loving diversity: Examining successful intercultural couple relationships
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2014.310
Publication date 2014
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor W. Kim Halford
Fons J. R. van de Vijver
Shuang Liu
Total pages 144
Total black and white pages 144
Language eng
Subjects 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Formatted abstract
This thesis describes a program of research investigating the differences between Chinese and Western couple relationship standards and communication, how intercultural Chinese-Western couples manage the differences, and the association of relationship satisfaction with relationship standards and communication. Six studies were conducted. In Studies 1 to 4, the first measure of Chinese and Western couple relationship standards was developed and found to be psychometrically robust and equivalent across cultures and genders. Family Responsibility standards were endorsed more strongly by Chinese individuals than Western individuals and more strongly by males than females, whereas Couple Bond standards were endorsed more strongly by females than males but received similar strong endorsement by Chinese and Western individuals. Study 5 demonstrated that Chinese couples endorsed Family Responsibility standards more strongly and Couple Bond standards less strongly than Western couples, with intercultural couples endorsing these standards to an extent that was intermediate between the Chinese and Western couples. All cultural combinations of partners shared greater similarity on Family Responsibility standards than would be expected by chance, intercultural partners were as similar as intracultural partners, and holding similar standards was associated with satisfaction in relationships with a Chinese male. Study 6 was the first direct comparison of the communication of Chinese, Western, and intercultural Chinese-Western couples during positive reminiscence and problem discussions. This study revealed that Chinese couples engaged in higher rates of negative and lower rates of positive communication as defined by Western coding systems. Intercultural partners’ rates of communication behaviour were intermediate between those of Chinese and Western couples. Few behaviours assessed by Western coding systems were associated with Chinese and intercultural couples’ satisfaction. This program of research revealed that intercultural partners do not adhere to the relationship standards and communication behaviour of their cultures of origin, instead adopting an approach in between those of their cultures of origin. The importance of culturally appropriate measurement was highlighted by the most significant results emerging from a new scale that assessed traditional Chinese relationship standards not previously assessed in Western research, and few associations between communication coded by a Western system and Chinese and intercultural couples’ satisfaction. Contradiction of some popular contentions about Chinese-Western differences and support of others demonstrated the importance of rigorous empirical testing.
Keyword Couple relationship
Relationship standards

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Created: Thu, 11 Sep 2014, 11:40:00 EST by Mrs Danika Hiew on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service