Cultural and gender-related differences of concepts of love between Iranian and Swiss adults based on Hafez’ poetry of love


  • Hafez Bajoghli
  • Edith Holsboer-Trachsler
  • Serge Brand


Falling and being in love is a  cross-cultural universal. The poet Khwaja Šams ud-Din Muhammad Hafez-e Širazi, or simply Hafez (14thcentury D.C.), an important influence for both Persian and European culture, is noted for his love poetry. The first aim of the present study was to check to what extent items of a current questionnaire of love matchthemes of love found in Hafez‘ poetry. Then, we explored  gender- and cultural differences in  the importance of these themes. First, themes of Hafez‘s poems were compared with the items of Fisher‘s ―Being in Love Inventory‖. Second, a set of items was presented to Iranian  and  Swiss female and  male adult participants (N=325; age (years): M =31.29; SD =16.28; 161 Iranian; 164 Swiss). Generally, cultural differences were weak. Female participants agreed more with the assumption of love as taking one away from reality. Swiss male participants reported an increased ambivalence towards the partner, and Iranian female participants reported an increased fear of being betrayed. Our results seem to  confirm that Hafez‘s themes of love are still up-to-date, and thatfalling and being in love is a cross-cultural universal, though with some subtle cultural and gender-related differences.