Indiana State University Newsroom

Hautians in love: 65 percent report being in romantic relationship

February 12, 2010

The majority of Terre Haute residents have someone to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

A survey of more than 800 residents conducted by the Indiana State University psychology department found that 65 percent reported they were involved in a romantic relationship. Indiana State students conducted the survey through the psychology department's research lab.

"The survey lab has a history of doing ‘quality-of-life' studies and few things have as strong an impact on life as our close relationships," said Virgil Sheets, psychology department chair. "Relationships are a significant factor influencing our well-being, including our mental and physical health."

Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 95 years with 65 percent being female. Respondents said their romantic relationships ranged in duration from one day to 65 years. Of those in a romantic relationship, 84 percent said they were married or living together. Of those surveyed, 2.5 percent were gay or lesbian.

Callers asked respondents in romantic relationships questions measuring three types of love: eros, physical attraction or chemistry with a partner; storge, a sense of close friendship with partner; and mania, a sense of obsession with a partner. Sheets noted most people report mania when they are "falling in love."

Respondents' relationships characterizations fell across categories: 97 percent classified their relationships at eros; 92 percent at storge; and 33 percent at mania.

"Contrary to stereotype men were more like to describe mania," Sheets said. "Prior marriages had no effect on the characterization. If you don't get it right the first time, it's just as good the second time."

Respondents also expressed certainty that their relationships would continue.

"Of those surveyed, 92 percent are confident they will be with the same partner next year," Sheets said.

Additionally, the survey found that while 30 percent of respondents were not in a romantic relationship that they did have a best friend. The durations of those friendships ranged from seven months to 80 years. On the friendships, respondents said there were high levels of liking and love because of respect, confidence and unconditional support.

Of those who responded, 30 percent reported best friends of the opposite sex while 11 percent reported relatives as best friends.

"While men and women liked friends similarly, both male and females liked female friends better," Sheets said.

However, 100 percent of men reported that they liked their relatives who are friends more than other friends versus 92 percent of women. Ninety-four percent of respondents are confident they will have the same best friend next year, but were less certain concerning opposite sex best friends.

The survey also found that 5 percent neither had a romantic relationship nor reported having a best friend.

"These were twice as likely to be older respondents," Sheets said.


Contact: Virgil Sheets, Indiana State University, psychology department chair, at 812-237-2451 or

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or


Cutline: Virgil Sheets discusses the findings of the relationships in Terre Haute survey. ISU Photo/Tony Campbell