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The Love Styles

Although no one theory of love can capture all of love's characteristics in all of love's domains (e.g., parent-child love, love of friends), Lee's (1973) love styles approach proposes six major orientations to romantic, partnered love. These love styles include Eros (passionate love), Ludus (game-playing love), Storge (love based on friendship), Pragma (practical love), Mania (dependent, possessive love), and Agape (altruistic love). The Love Attitudes Scale (LAS) was originally developed with seven items to measure each of the six love styles (forty-two items total) (Hendrick and Hendrick 1986) and is now available in a short form of twenty-four items (Hendrick, Hendrick, and Dicke 1998). The LAS has been used to explore a number of questions about love.

For example, do women and men differ in their love styles? Men typically describe themselves as more game-playing, and women describe themselves as more friendship-oriented, practical, and dependent. Recent research also indicates that men endorse altruistic love more than women do, so sex differences may vary depending on such factors as the version of the LAS that is being used or the age and culture of the sample. In any case, because gender differences are typically small, sex similarities are probably more important. For example, men and women are similar on passionate love, and for both sexes, passionate love (as well as other qualities) predicts relationship satisfaction, across both ages and cultures (Contreras, Hendrick, and Hendrick 1996).

Are romantic partners similar in their love styles? Gregory D. Morrow, Eddie M. Clark, and Karla F. Brock (1995) found partner similarity on love styles (consistent with previous research) and also found that people's love styles (and their partners' love styles) were related to a number of positive relationship qualities (e.g., commitment, investment). Is companionate or passionate love more important to a romantic relationship? Both companionate and passionate love appear to be related to satisfaction with one's relationship, and it is concluded "that passion and friendship/companionship are not consecutive in a romantic relationship but rather are concurrent. Both play a part in relationship initiation and development as well as in relationship maintenance" (Hendrick and Hendrick 1993, p. 465).

The LAS has been translated into many languages, probably because many cultures and countries are interested in romantic love, and also because different love styles may be congruent with different cultures.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaOther Marriage & Family TopicsLove - Passionate And Companionate Love, Prototypes Of Love, Triangular Theory Of Love, Attachment Theory And The Evolution Of Love - Conclusion