Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type

Mixed methods


School for Social Work


Non-monogamous relationships-Psychological aspects, Polygamy-Psychological aspects, Trust, Jealousy, Communication, Intimate relationships, Consensual non-monogamy, Open relationship, Polyamory


This cross-sectional exploratory quantitative study examined trust and communication patterns among adults practicing consensual non-monogamy (CNM). Previous relationship research in this area has primarily examined couples in demographically homogenous relationships (heterosexual, white, and married). A review of the literature suggested that adults engaging in consensual non-monogamy are more diverse. Our recruitment strategies and study design was successful in recruiting a more diverse group of participants. Twenty-eight adults in long-term CNM relationships completed a 56-item online questionnaire. Responses were examined to explore the relationship between communication patterns and relationship tenure. The relationship tenure of couples and the gender preference of participants were allowed to vary in an effort to explore the possibility that relationship tenure is associated with positive self reports on trust and communication dimensions.

The findings were more thematically relevant than statistically significant; however emotional jealousy was found to have decreased as length of relationship increased.

The potential benefits of this research to the field of social work and society at large are engaging in ongoing investigation of and contribution to social science knowledge by gaining more understanding about the nature of trust, jealousy, and communication in intimate interpersonal relationships.




iv, 41 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 25-27)

Included in

Social Work Commons