Passionate Love Scale

Passionate Love Scale

ELAINE HATFIELD,1 University of Hawaii

SUSAN SPRECHER, Illinois State University

Many classifications and typologies of love exist in the literature, but the most common distinction is between passionate love and companionate love. Hatfield and Walster (1978) described passionate love as “a state of intense longing for union with another. Reciprocated love (union with the other) is associated with fulfillment and ecstasy; unrequited love (separation) is associated with emptiness, anxiety, or despair” (p. 9).

In 1986, Hatfield and Sprecher published the Passionate Love Scale (PLS) for the purpose of promoting more research on this intense type of love. Although a companion scale to measure companionate love was not also developed by this team of researchers, other measures exist in the literature designed to assess this type of love (see, e.g., Grote & Frieze’s [1994] Friendship-Based Love Scale).

Description

The Passionate Love Scale (PLS) scale was specifically designed to assess the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components of passionate love. The cognitive components consist of Intrusive thinking; Preoccupation with the partner; Idealization of the other or of the relationship; and Desire to know the other and be known by him/her. Emotional components consist of Attraction to the partner, especially sexual attraction; Positive feelings when things go well; Negative feelings when things go awry; Longing for reciprocity—passionate lovers not only love but want to be loved in return; Desire for complete and permanent union; and Physiological (sexual) arousal. Finally, behavioral components consist of Actions aimed at determining the other’s feelings; Studying the other person; Service to the other; and Maintaining physical closeness.

The most common form of the Passionate Love Scale (PLS) is a 15-item scale (Form A), but an alternative 15-item version (Form B) is also available. The two scales can be combined to form a 30-item scale. Although the scale was originally designed using North American young adults in pilot studies, the scale has subsequently been revised to be administered to children and has been translated into many languages and administered to samples in other countries.

Response Mode and Timing

Participants are presented with statements such as “I would feel deep despair if left me” and are asked to indicate how true the statement is of them. Possible responses range from 1 = Not at all True to 9 = Definitely True. (The in each statement refers to the partner.) The scale takes only a few minutes to complete, although often it is embedded in a larger questionnaire with other measures.

Scoring

The total score of the scale can be represented either by the mean of the scores for the items or by the sum of the ratings. Higher scores indicate greater passionate love. An average score for young adults across the items is approximately 7. Recently, for a popular press article, Hatfield and Sprecher (2004) provided for readers the following rubric to interpret their summed scores across 15 items:

106–135 points = Wildly, recklessly, in love

86–105 points = Passionate but less intense

66–85 points = Occasional bursts of passion

45–65 points = Tepid, infrequent passion

15–44 points = The thrill is gone

Reliability

Hatfield and Sprecher (1986) reported a coefficient alpha of .91 for the 15-item version and .94 for the 30-item version. Others have also reported high levels of reliability for the scale (e.g., Sprecher & Regan, 1998). The PLS appears to be primarily unidimensional, with one primary factor emerging from a principal components factoring.

Validity

The scale is uncontaminated by a social desirability bias, as indicated by a nonsignificant correlation between the PLS and their scores on the 1964 Crowne and Marlowe Social Desirability Scale (Hatfield & Sprecher, 1986). There is

some evidence for the construct validity of the PLS. For example, it has been found to be associated positively with conceptually similar scales and measures (Aron & Henkemeyer, 1995; Hatfield & Sprecher, 1986; Hendrick & Hendrick, 1989; Sprecher & Regan, 1998).

Other Information

Researchers have used the PLS in exploring many different topics, including cross-cultural differences in passionate love (Hatfield, Rapson, & Martel, 2007; Landis & O’Shea, 2000), prototype approaches to love (Fehr, 2005), neural bases of passionate love (Aron et al., 2005; Bartels & Zeki, 2004), changes in passionate love over the family life cycle (Tucker & Aron, 1993), correlates of sexual desire (Beck, Bozman, & Qualtrough, 1991), the effects of an emotion- ally focused couples therapy (James, 2007), degree of bonding with an abusive partner (Graham et al., 1995), and the effects of having married couples engage in novel activities (Aron, Norman, Aron, McKenna, & Heyman, 2000). The PLS is copyrighted by Hatfield and Sprecher (1986). Permission is given to all clinicians and researchers who wish to use the scale in their research (free of charge).

Address correspondence to Elaine Hatfield, 2430 Campus Road, Honolulu, HI 96822; e-mail: [email protected]

Passionate Love Scale

Passionate Love Scale (Form A)

We would like to know how you feel (or once felt) about the person you love, or have loved, most passionately. Some common terms for passionate love are romantic love, infatuation, love sickness, or obsessive love.

Please think of the person whom you love most passionately right now. If you are not in love, please think of the last person you loved. If you have never been in love, think of the person you came closest to caring for in that way.

Try to describe the way you felt when your feelings were most intense. Answers range from (1) Not at all True to (9) Definitely True.

Whom are you thinking of?

Someone I love right now.

Someone I once loved.

I have never been in love

  • I would feel deep despair if left me.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9a

Not at all True Definitely True

  • Sometimes I feel I can’t control my thoughts; they are obsessively on .
  • I feel happy when I am doing something to make happy.
  • I would rather be with than anyone else.
  • I’d get jealous if I thought were falling in love with someone else.
  • I yearn to know all about .
  • I want physically, emotionally, mentally.
  • I have an endless appetite for affection from .
  • For me, is the perfect romantic partner.
  • I sense my body responding when touches me.
  • I want always seems to be on my mind.
  • to know me—my thoughts, my fears, and my hopes.
  • I eagerly look for signs indicating ’s desire for me.
  • I possess a powerful attraction for .
  • I get extremely depressed when things don’t go right in my relationship with .

Total:

Results:

106–135 points = Wildly, even recklessly, in love

86–105 points = Passionate, but less intense

66–85 points = Occasional bursts of passion

45–65 points = Tepid, infrequent passion

15–44 points = The thrill is gone

 

Passionate Love Scale (Form B)

We would like to know how you feel (or once felt) about the person you love, or have loved, most passionately. Some common terms for passionate love are romantic love, infatuation, love sickness, or obsessive love.

Please think of the person whom you love most passionately right now. If you are not in love, please think of the last person you loved. If you have never been in love, think of the person you came closest to caring for in that way.

Try to describe the way you felt when your feelings were most intense. Answers range from (1) Not at all True to (9) Definitely True. Whom are you thinking of?

Someone I love right now.

Someone I once loved.

I have never been in love.

  • Since I’ve been involved with , my emotions have been on a roller coaster.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9a

Not at all True Definitely True

  • Sometimes my body trembles with excitement at the sight of .
  • I take delight in studying the movements and angles of ’s body.
  • No one else could love like I do.
  • I will love forever.
  • I melt when looking deeply into ’s eyes.
  • is the person who can make me feel happiest.
  • I feel tender toward .
  • If I were separated from for a long time, I would feel intensely lonely.
  • I sometimes find it difficult to concentrate on work because thoughts of occupy my mind.
  • Knowing that cares about me makes me feel complete.
  • If were going through a difficult time, I would put away my own concerns to help him/her out.
  • can make me feel effervescent and bubbly.
  • In the presence of , I yearn to touch and be touched.
  • An existence without would be dark and dismal.

Total:

Results:

106–135 points = Wildly, even recklessly, in love

86–105 points = Passionate, but less intense

66–85 points = Occasional bursts of passion

45–65 points = Tepid, infrequent passion

15–44 points = The thrill is gone

References

Sprecher, S., & Regan, P. C. (1998). Passionate and companionate love in courting and young married couples. Sociological Inquiry, 68, 163–185.

Tucker, P., & Aron, A. (1993). Passionate love and marital satisfaction at key transition points in the family life cycle. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 12, 135–147.

Aron, A., Fisher, H., Mashek, D. J., Strong, G., Li, H., & Brown, L. L. (2005). Reward, motivation, and emotion systems associated with early-stage intense romantic love. Journal of Neurophysiology, 94, 327–337.

Aron, A., & Henkemeyer, L. (1995). Marital satisfaction and passionate love. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 12, 139–146.

Aron, A., Norman, C. C., Aron, E. N., McKenna, C., & Heyman, R. (2000). Couples’ shared participation in novel and arousing activi- ties and experienced relationship quality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 273–284.

Bartels, A., & Zeki, S. (2004). The neural correlates of maternal and romantic love. Neuroimage, 21, 1155–1166.

Beck, J. G., Bozman, A. W., & Qualtrough, T. (1991). The experience of sexual desire: Psychological correlates in a college sample. The Journal of Sex Research, 28, 443–456.

Crowne, D. P., & Marlowe, D. (1964). The approval motive: Studies in evaluative dependence. New York: Wiley.

Fehr, B. (2005). Prototype-based assessment of laypeople’s views of love. Personal Relationships, 1, 309–331.

Graham, D. L., Rawlings, E. I., Ihms, K., Latimer, D., Foliano, J., Thompson, A., et al. (1995). A scale for identifying “Stockholm syn- drome” reactions in young dating women: Factor structure, reliability, and validity. Violence and Victims, 10, 3–22.

Grote, N. K., & Frieze, I. H. (1994). The measurement of friendship-based love in intimate relationships. Personal Relationships, 1, 275–300.

Hatfield, E., Rapson, R. L., & Martel, L. D. (2007). Passionate love and sexual desire. In S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of cul- tural psychology (pp. 760–779). New York: Guilford Press.

Hatfield, E., & Sprecher, S. (1986). Measuring passionate love in intimate relations. Journal of Adolescence, 9, 383–410.

Hatfield, E., & Sprecher, S. (January 19, 2004). In Jeffrey Kluger, “Why we love,” Time Magazine, p. 60. http://www.time.com/time/2004/sex/ scale

Hatfield, E., & Walster, G. W. (1978). A new look at love. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. S. (1989). Research on love: Does it measure up? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, 784–794.

James, P. (2007). Effects of a communication training component added to an emotionally focused couples therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 17, 263–275.

Landis, D., & O’Shea, W. A., III. (2000). Cross-cultural aspects of pas- sionate love: An individual difference analysis. Journal of Cross- Cultural Psychology, 31, 754–779.