Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Elizabeth C. Pinel

Second Advisor

Jane E. Okech


Healthy romantic relationships are important for overall health and well-being. Current literature suggests We-ness, or the extent to which couples view themselves as a ‘we’ unit, characterizes healthy relationships. Previous studies provide evidence that We-ness predicts relationship satisfaction, health, as well as psychological and physical well-being. To my knowledge, We-ness-oriented couples therapy (SCCT) remains the only evidence-based intervention that promotes We-ness in couples. The current study asks whether I-sharing, or overlap with regard to one’s subjective experience of reality, might also promote We-ness in couples. Research demonstrates that I-sharing predicts relationship satisfaction and promotes liking, warmth, selflessness, helping behaviors, and compromise. Here, I suggest that I-sharing may promote We-ness. I also examine whether increases in relationship-specific existential isolation mediates this effect, and whether the increases in We-ness hypothesized to result from I-sharing translates into improved relationship satisfaction. To test these hypotheses, I manipulate I-sharing and Me-sharing among adults in cohabitating romantic partnerships and measure their We-ness levels post-manipulation, as well as relationship-specific existential connection, perception of objective/subjective similarity, and relationship satisfaction. Results indicate that I-sharing increased post-manipulation We-ness via an indirect effect on relationship-specific existential isolation and this increase in We-ness, in turn, increased relationship satisfaction. The results of this study provide insight into another method that relationship counselors or struggling couples can use to help promote We-ness, and ultimately, relationship satisfaction.



Number of Pages

89 p.

Available for download on Thursday, October 17, 2024