Loving Unconditionally: Demographic Correlates of the Agapic Love Style

Pamela C. Regan

Abstract


Although passionate or erotic love continues to receive the most attention from relationship scholars, there is a growing interest in a variety of love variously referred to as altruistic, compassionate, self-giving, or agapic love. Because this type of unconditional, other-oriented love appears to have important implications for the interpersonal dynamics and overall quality of close romantic relationships, there has been increased interest in delineating its correlates and possible causal antecedents. The goal of the present empirical investigation was to explore three potential demographic correlates of unconditional or agapic love – age, gender, and ethnicity. A large, multi-ethnic community sample of adult men and women (N = 697) individually completed the 7-item Agapic subscale of the Love Attitudes Scale (Hendrick & Hendrick, 1990). Although age was not associated with agapic love scores, a significant overall gender difference was obtained such that men scored higher than women. Ethnic differences also were found. Specifically, African American participants reported lower levels of agapic love than did Latino/a, Asian/Pacific Islander, and non-Hispanic White participants.

Keywords


Agapic love; love styles; compassionate love; gender differences; ethnic differences

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5964/ijpr.v10i1.199