Study exploring relationship satisfaction and ways to improve it (2011)

29 March 2012

Given the prevalence of relationship breakdown, and the unequivocal association with poor outcomes, ways in which to improve relationship satisfaction are of great importance. Derived from in-depth interviews with 112 individuals in a couple relationship, this study aims to explore and understand different beliefs and perceived capabilities toward improving couple relationships.

Adopting an iterative, holistic approach to the thematic analysis, the findings initially emerged through people describing their current level of relationship satisfaction. By placing people’s meanings and interpretations within their own realities of their relationship “state,” participants were further distinguished by whether they held a more “developmental” or “nondevelopmental” relationship perspective. Relative to those with a “nondevelopmental” perspective, the “developmental” group perceived relationship change as positive, believed they had control to alter the course of their relationship for the better, recognized the importance of the relationship future, and saw the potential benefits of formal relationship support.

The “developmental” group was more motivated to address relationship improvement and was aware of what made their own relationship endure. While contextualizing the research within its limitations and alongside previous research, the implications are centered on fostering a more “developmental” perspective by increasing knowledge and awareness about relationships, through a universal early intervention approach.

Full text available at:

Coleman, L. (2011). Improving relationship satisfaction – Qualitative insights derived from individuals currently within a couple relationship. The Family Journal, 19 (4) 369-380.