An examination of moderators of the relationship between similarity, complementarity, and relationship satisfaction

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Catherine L. Zois


This study used an idiographic approach to examine the association between similarity or complementarity on valued characteristics and romantic relationship satisfaction. This study also examined how self-liking of a trait is related to importance of similarity or complementarity of a trait. College students and employees of a local outpatient behavioral health center (N = 96) rated their partners on perceived similarity of personality traits, attitudes, interests, and religion; the importance of similarity of these traits; the importance of complementarity of personality traits; and relationship satisfaction. The results revealed significant Similarity x Importance interactions for religion, attitudes, and neuroticism. This suggests that similarity in religion, attitudes, and neuroticism was related to relationship satisfaction only if the participant valued similarity in that dimension. The results also indicated that higher levels of self-liking of a trait were associated with participants' ratings of importance of similarity of a trait, while lower levels of self-liking were associated with participants' ratings of the importance of complementarity of a trait. The results suggested that an idiographic approach may be more suitable than a nomothetic approach for some dimensions of similarity, but not for others.


Relationship quality, Mate selection Psychological aspects, Similarity (Psychology), Personality

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2010, author