Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


This study examined the association between relationship satisfaction and romantic physical affection across three stages of romantic relationships (casual dating, serious dating, committed) among 70 (40 men, 30 women) university students. Twenty-nine types of romantic physical affection were measured across frequency, initiation patterns, importance to relationship satisfaction and intimacy.

Results suggest that relationship satisfaction is strongly correlated with the frequency of romantic physical affection, Significant differences in the frequency of physical affection were found between the casual dating stage and both the serious dating and committed stage. There were no significant gender differences in touch initiation patterns across the three relationship stages. Overall, there was a strong correlation (.729, p < .001) between the perceived intimacy of various romantic physical affection types and their importance to relationship satisfaction.