Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Interpersonal relations, Expectation (Psychology), Quantitative research, Relationship(s), Expectations, Marriage, Monogamy, Cohabitation, Child-rearing, Generation, Baby boomers, Millennials, Generation X, Gender, Sexual orientation, Couples-Psychology


This study sought to identify trends in American expectations regarding commitment, marriage, monogamy, cohabitation, child rearing, and domestic responsibilities in committed relationships and explored the ways expectations differed based on gender, generation, income, and US region. A committed relationship was defined as an interpersonal romantic relationship based upon a mutually agreed-upon commitment to one another regarding certain behavior and lifestyle choices. The different generations that were compared fall into the following year brackets: Boomers (1943-1960), Generation X (1961-1981), and Millennials (1982-2004). Two hundred and ninety-four participants completed an online, anonymous survey that collected basic demographic information including gender, sexual orientation, and generation, income level and geographic location. Participants were required to be at least 18 years of age and living in the United States in order to participate. Participants were then asked to rate various expectations on a Likert-like scale indicating if they agree or disagree with that expectation. The findings identified a trend toward more egalitarian expectations in committed relationships as well as more openness toward non-monogamous relationships. The majority of participants did expect a life-long committed relationship and most expected that their life-long committed relationship would be a marriage.




iv, 81 pages : color illustration. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 57-61)