Love at the cultural crossroads: Intimacy and commitment in Chinese Canadian relationships


  • The data in this study were collected as part of the author's doctoral dissertation. I am grateful to my supervisor at the University of Toronto, Romin Tafarodi, and to the members of my dissertation committee, Glenn Adams, Ken Dion, and Penelope Lockwood. I would also like to thank Greg Bonn, Chris Lo, Don McCreary, and Chris Wilbur for providing insightful comments on an earlier version of this article.

Tara C. Marshall, 161 Gaskell Building, Department of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK UB8 3PH, e-mail:


The role of culture in romantic relationships has largely been investigated by examining variation between groups, rather than within groups. This study took a within-group approach to examine the influence of Canadian and Chinese cultural identification on gender role egalitarianism, intimacy, and commitment in 60 Chinese Canadian dating couples. Results revealed that men's identification with mainstream Canadian culture was associated with their own and with their partner's greater intimacy, at least in part because of their greater egalitarianism. Conversely, women's identification with mainstream Canadian culture was associated with their partners' lower intimacy. Finally, women's identification with Chinese heritage culture was associated with their greater commitment, and some evidence suggested that this was because of their greater gender role traditionalism.