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The Expression

of Love Within
Undergraduates
Matt Hribar
Sociology Course 493

Significance
*Love has emerged as an important topic in sociology for many reasons, including
how society defines love, the boundaries between love and sex, and how being in
love can affect an individual’s decisions and actions in a community or societal
setting.
*In contemporary American society, people express love in many different ways.

Research Questions
*People believe women are the first to express love in a relationship, although data
shows that men are the initiators. Do undergraduates follow this same pattern?
*How does the Love Attitude Scale (as created by Lee; 1973 and converted through
Hendrick & Hendrick 1986) measure against the school population?

Literature Review - Expressing Love
*Ackerman et. al (2011) found in their sample that 64.4% believed women said “I love
you” first, while 84.4% of the participants believed women thought about getting
“serious” first.
*88% of total participants believed a woman is the partner to fall in love first in a relationship
and 75% of total participants also believed women expressed this sentiment first
(Harrison et al. 2011).
*Women respondents, on average, said in their last romantic relationship it took 138.9 days
to think about saying ‘I love you’ while men said 97.3 days, a 42 day difference (Ackerman et.
al 2012).
*70% of the remaining 50 couples agreed that the man in the relationship had confessed love
first. (Ackerman et. al 2012).

Literature Review - Love Attitudes
The Love Attitude Scale (designed by Lee, 1973)
Scale
*Hendrick & Hendrick (1986)
found no differences [in the LAS]
due to age, although males were
more Ludic and females were
significantly more Storgic,
Pragmatic and Manic. There
were no differences on Eros and
Agape between genders.
(Worobey, 2001)

http://cdn.okccdn.com/php/load_okc_image.php/images/1x1/500x1000/0x0/0x0/
0/17709671414097177682

Examples of the Love Attitude Scale
Eros (passionate love)
Vivian Ward
(Julia Roberts)
in Pretty
Woman

http://www.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/340/146/6/S3401466/sl
ug/l/julia-roberts1-2.jpg

Ludus (strategy love)

Storge (friendship love)
Harry (Billy
Crystal) in
When Harry
Met Sally

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1639741!img/httpImage/billycrystal-mgmua-home-entertainments-harry-met-sally-560605-jpg.jpg

Pragma (practical love)

Barney
Stinson (Neil
Patrick
Harris) from
How I Met
Your Mother

Mania (possessive love)
Annie Wilkes
(Kathy Bates) in
Misery

http://www.townandcountrygazette.com/wpcontent/uploads/2015/01/Kathy-Bates-Misery.jpg

Agape (selfless love)
Forrest
Gump (Tom
Hanks) in
Forrest
Gump

Frank and Claire Underwood (Kevin Spacey,
Robin Wright) from House of Cards
http://o.aolcdn.com/hss/storage/midas/2ec9e72d476d81eecefe8fd2814e
734b/200006509/Barney-Stinson-suits.jpg

http://images.vcpost.com/data/images/full/44795/frank-and-claireunderwood.jpg

http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/f__/images/a/a9/Forrest-gumporiginal.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20110908174919&path-prefix=forrestgump

Sample
*Surveys conducted with 125 students at a mid-western Jesuit institution.

● All students in attendance from six Sociology classes, chosen non-randomly.

Five of them were introductory classes and one was an upper-level courses.

● Only one-hundred and twenty three surveys were used to form the
final sample.
*121/125 categorized their gender. All the men marked themselves down as
heterosexual, while sixty of the sixty-four of the women marked themselves as
heterosexual.
*The age range of students was 18-21 and over, and the average age was 19.2
years old.

Questionnaire
*First section measured LAS, each participants received six scores, with a range
of 5 - 25 for each love style.
*The second section asked about their number of past romantic relationships and
how many romantic relationships in which they’ve said “I love you”. It
also asked how much time needed to pass before they were individually able
to fall in love and how much time needed to pass for the average college student to
fall in love.
*The third and final section asked an open-ended question: “If you’re in a
relationship, what needs to have occurred for you to tell a partner that
you love them?”

Results - Saying “I Love You”
Most men believed that women said “I love you” first and thought about
getting serious first. Slightly over half of women also believed women
said “I love you” first. Almost all women believe women thought about
getting serious first.
M
a
l
e

F
e
m
al
e

18
yea
r
old
part
icip
ant
s

19
yea
r
old
par
tici
pa
nts

20
year
old
part
icipa
nts

21
+
yea
r
old
par
tici
pa
nts

% of
6 5 55
74 38
71
respo
8 5 %
%
%
%
ndent
% %
s
which
This
question was significant when compared to gender and age (.016 and 0.28 respectively).
believ

Results - Saying “I Love You”
*The following results demonstrate that more males indicated
saying “I love you” first, although the difference is not statistically
significant.
Neve
r
said
“I
love
you”
first

Said
“I
love
you”
first
in 1
relati
onsh
ip

Said
“I
love
you”
first
in 2
relati
onsh
ips

Said
“I
love
you”
first
in 3
relati
onsh
ips

Men 50% 35.1
8.8% 5.3%
This data
was
not
found
to be significant in SPSS.
(29/ %
57)

(20/
57)

Results - Love Attitude Scale
The average participant’s LAS Score

Average Sample
Eros (passionate love): 17.3
Ludus (game-playing love): 12.4
Storge (friendship love): 18.3
Pragma (practical love): 16.5
Agape (selfless love): 19.5
Mania (possessive love): 16.3

Results - Love Attitude Scale
The average
female
participant
LAS Score

The average
male
participant
LAS Score

Ove
rall
Ave

Ero
s
(pa
ssio
n)

Ludus
(game
playin
g)

Storg
e**
(frien
dship
)

Prag
ma
(pra
ctica
l)

Agap
e
(selfle
ss)

Mani
a
(poss
essiv
e)

17.
3

12.4

18.3

16.5

19.5

16.3

Gender v. Storge was found to be significant

Results - Love Attitude Scale
The average 18 year-old
participant LAS Score

The average 19 year-old
participant LAS Score

18
yea
r
olds

19
year
olds

20
year
olds

21+
year
olds

17.
29

17.6
0

17.6
1

16.4
2

(gameplaying)

10.
48

12.3
9

13.3
8

14.6
4

Storge*
*

19.
16

18.6
4

17.3
8

16.8
5

15.
77

16.5
9

17.8
0

16.3
5

Eros
(passion)

Ludus**

(friendshi
p)

Pragma
(practical)

The average 20 year-old
participant LAS Score

The average 21+ year-old
participant LAS Score

Agape**
21. tested
20.0 significant
17.6 17.2when matched with
Three
categories
(selfless)
5 and Agape
9
8
age: Ludus,16
Storge
(.022,
.024, .020)

Qualitative Data: “If you’re in a relationship,
what needs to have occurred for you to tell a
partner that you love them?”
Most Common Response Categories:
*Emotion based
-Romantic Emotions
-Friendship Emotions
*Time: Longevity, Quality and Specifications
*Commitment to a Shared Future

Qualitative Results -- Emotion
Based
“I think that you reach a point where you know that you
are willing to do anything or sacrifice anything for the
other” (67, F18)

Qualitative Results-Time: Longevity, Quality and
Specifications
“We need to have been together for a relatively long time
and have an intimate connection.” (109, M21)

Qualitative Results-Commitment to a Shared Future
“We know each other pretty well. We both have goals,
and we both want to have a family” (56; F18)

Discussion - Love Attitudes Scale
Comparing the four age categories
simultaneously with their LAS results
Orange = 18
Yellow = 19
Green = 20
Blue = 21+

*Very irregular results in the LAS Scores,
with the low levels of Ludus and the high
levels of Agape & Storge
*This sample seems very irregular to what would be
predicted in other undergraduate sample.
*Age proved to be more significant than
gender, even though age was not significant
in Hendrick and Hendrick’s study (1986).
*Most likely experience (both positive and negative)
drives the changes in these styles.

Discussion - Saying “I Love You”
This study supported the work of Ackerman et al. (2011), Harrison et al. (2011) and Cancian
(1986). Participants in this sample indicated that women say “I love you” first
and that women think about getting serious first. Society continues to perpetuate
these ideals as well in both media and peers.
*Contemporary undergraduates in this sample wrote that love was more than just an
emotion, love was about spending time, creating strong friendships, and creating a future
together. Males are able to attribute their feelings to love, although they did it in
a slightly different way than women did.
*Cancain wrote about using female standards to judge men in her research, and perhaps we
are reaching a turning point where love is becoming more gender-neutral, where expression
and love styles become gradual parts of the human experience and not a gendered one.

Results - Participant Self-Evaluation
Highes Pa Fri Pra De Un Fu
tw/
LAS
ssi
end ctic pen sel n
LAS
v.
on shi al
den fis (Lu
Love
is...

(Er
os
res
po
ns
e)

p
(St
org
e
res
pon
se)

(Pr
ag
ma
res
pon
se)

t
(M
ani
a
res
po
nse
)

h
(A
ga
pe
res
po
ns
e)

dus
res
po
nse
)

Eros
4
2
(partic 57. 28.
ipants) 1% 6%

0
0%

0
0%

1
0
14. 0%
3
%

Ludus 0
3
(partic 0% 50
ipants)
%

1
16.
7%

1
16.
7%

1
0
16. 0%
7%

Storge
8
11 significance
0
0
5 the
3 entire table was .034.
The
Chi-Square
for
(partic

29. 40.

0%

0%

18. 11.1

Discussion - Saying “I Love You”
Highe
st
Love
Style
v. “I
Appro
ach
Relati
onship
s
with…

De
sir
e
(Er
os
res
po
nse
)

Cl
os
en
ess
(St
or
ge
res
po
ns
e)

Eff
icie
ncy
(Pr
ag
ma
res
po
nse
)

Co
mpu
lsio
n
(Ma
nia
resp
ons
e)

Co
mp
assi
on
(Ag
ape
res
pon
se)

Str
ate
gy
(L
ud
us
res
po
ns
e)

Eros
0
1
0
1
4
1
(partic 0% 14. 0% 14.3 57.1 14.
ipants
3%
%
%
3%
)
Ludus 1
1
0
0
2
2
(partic 16. 16. 0% 0% 33. 33.
ipants 7% 7%
3% 3%
) significance of the the respondent’s highest LAS category against their response was a .014.
The

Results - Saying “I Love You”
Age vs. Saying “I Love You” & Perspective
2: 1 month-2 months, 3 = 3-4 months, 4= 5-8 months.
18 19 20 21
ye yea yea yea
ar r
r
r
old old old old
.
How long
3.7 3.4 4.0 3.7
did it take
2
4
8
you to say
“I love you”
in your
relationshi
ps.

Results - Participant Self Evaluation
w/ LAS
Love is
I
_____

approach
relationsh
ips with
______.

Males

passion
(Eros)

compassi
on
(Agape)

Females

friendshi
p
(Storge)

compassi
on
(Agape)

18 year-old
participant
s

passion
(Eros)

compassi
on
(Agape)

19 year-old

passion

compassi