The Unique Impact of Personality Strengths on Romantic Relationships

Kevin C. Young

Advisor: Todd B. Kashdan, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Patrick McKnight, Keith Renshaw

David J. King Hall, #2064
September 15, 2017, 09:00 AM to 01:00 PM


This dissertation consisted of two studies designed to investigate the ability of individual personality strengths to promote romantic relationship well-being. Participants from Study 1 included 182 adult undergraduate students in heterosexual romantic relationships (i.e., 91 heterosexual couples), while Study 2 participants included a community sample of 136 adults (i.e., 68 heterosexual couples); both romantic partners participated and each couple was together for at least 6 months. The project examined: 1) the link between 24 unique personality strengths, as measured by the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS), and multiple indices of romantic relationship well-being (e.g., relationship satisfaction) and 2) the way in which one partner’s personality strengths might influence the relationship well-being of his or her partner (i.e., partner effects).  Given previous empirical findings suggesting that similarity between partners across certain personality traits predicted positive relationship outcomes, this dissertation also examined the link between partners’ personality strengths similarity and relationship well-being. In accordance with existing research, similarity for each personality strength was operationalized as both an absolute difference score and a profile similarity correlation. Results supported the unique value of specific personality strengths when predicting romantic relationship well-being, and identified potential relationship benefits for partner similarity within the context of certain personality strengths.  There was also evidence that gender moderated the relationship between some personality strengths and relationship well-being outcomes. Implications for future research and intervention are discussed.