Adult Relationship Quality Data Tool

Romantic relationships play a central role in people’s lives from adolescence onwards. Research shows that healthy, high-quality romantic relationships—dating, cohabiting, and married relationships—at all ages are linked to improved wellbeing for individuals in the relationship and any children they may have. Accordingly, many human service programs—including Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) programs—aim to help individuals and couples improve the quality and stability of current and future relationships.

Relationship quality is a complex and evolving concept. Researchers have assessed relationship quality across a number of topics, including affection, commitment, communication, conflict, disagreement, happiness, trust, and satisfaction. And within each of these topics, there are many different ways to ask about the topic.

This Relationship Quality Measures Data Tool details specific measures of relationship quality included in 15 data sets that are commonly used by scholars/researchers doing quantitative analyses to study romantic relationship quality in the United States (see below for the list and description of included data sets). We envision this tool can be used in two primary ways.  Researchers can, for example, see what dimensions of relationship quality are covered in different data sets, and how they are measured, to help them select the best data set for their research. Alternatively, program providers or evaluators can compare how specific topics are measured across various data sets to help them identify the best way to ask about a topic in their own work. This tool may help provide examples of how to ask questions, as opposed to program providers or evaluators feeling the need to create survey items related to relationship quality.

How to Use the Relationship Quality Measures Data Tool

Data Sets Included in the Tool

Future of Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS)

General Social Survey (GSS)

Married and Cohabiting Couples, 2010

Monitoring the Future - 12th-Grade Survey (MTF)

National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health)

The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79)

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Child and Young Adult (NLSCYA)

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) Self-Report

National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG)

Online College Social Life Survey (OLCSLS)

2019 PEW Research Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP)

PSID: Transition into Adulthood Supplement

Relationship Dynamics and Social Life Study (RDSL)

The National Survey of Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence (STRiV)

Toledo Adolescent Relationship Study (TARS)

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