Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Nathan D. Wood


The present exploration of perceptual accuracy and bias in romantic relationships bridges a gap in the literature on the ability of partners to estimate one another’s level of relational and sexual satisfaction, and its impact on their own and their partner’s level of satisfaction. A sample of 50 couples, recruited internationally, in continuously monogamous relationships of at least six-months in length completed online assessments of their relationship. The degree of accuracy and bias of their perception was established by comparing actor’s estimates of their partner’s satisfaction with the partner’s actual, self-reported satisfaction scores. The actor-partner interdependence model (APIM; Kenny, Kashy, & Cook, 2006) revealed significant partner effects (but no actor effects): the underestimation of perceived partner’s sexual and relational satisfaction predicted an increase in partner’s actual sexual and relational satisfaction. Overestimation of partner’s satisfaction, on the other hand, predicted a decrease in partner’s actual satisfaction. Authors hypothesize that under-perception of partner’s satisfaction motivates corrective relationship behaviors, which, in turn, increases the experience of satisfaction of the relationship partner.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)