Correlates of Couples’ Perceived Similarity at the Initiation Stage and Currently


  • Susan Sprecher


Although prior research (Montoya, Horton, & Kirchner, 2008) has indicated that perceived similarity is more important than actual similarity as a predictor of satisfaction and attraction, there is a lack of research on factors associated with couples’ perceptions of similarity in their relationship. In the present study, a sample of couples (both partners) provided ratings of the degree to which they perceived similarity in six areas (background characteristics, attitudes and beliefs, leisure pursuits and interests, communication style, personality, and physical attributes) for two stages in their relationship: currently and at the initiation stage (viewed retrospectively). The couples perceived greater similarity for the current stage of their relationship than for the beginning stage of their relationship. Factors found to be associated with perceived similarity included positive social network reactions, overlap in social networks (predictor of current perceived similarity only), perceived compatibility, and satisfaction and commitment (examined only for current perceived similarity). Of the various types of perceived similarity considered in this study, similarity in attitudes and beliefs was most consistently associated with the various predictor variables. Implications of these results for enhancing couple relationships are discussed.