Research Article: Machine learning meets partner matching: Predicting the future relationship quality based on personality traits

Date Published: March 21, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Inga Großmann, André Hottung, Artus Krohn-Grimberghe, Peter Karl Jonason.


To what extent is it possible to use machine learning to predict the outcome of a relationship, based on the personality of both partners? In the present study, relationship satisfaction, conflicts, and separation (intents) of 192 partners four years after the completion of questionnaires concerning their personality traits was predicted. A 10×10-fold cross-validation was used to ensure that the results of the linear regression models are reproducible. The findings indicate that machine learning techniques can improve the prediction of relationship quality (37% of variance explained), and that the perceived relationship quality of a partner is mostly dependent on his or her own individual personality traits. Additionally, the influences of different sets of variables on predictions are shown: partner and similarity effects did not incrementally predict relationship quality beyond actor effects and general personality traits predicted relationship quality less strongly than relationship-related personality.

Partial Text

For many adults, it is a central goal in life to attain and to maintain a satisfying romantic relationship, which plays a key role in fostering well-being [1]. A review by Kiecolt-Glaser & Newton [2] and a meta-analysis by Proulx, Helms, & Buehler [3] showed moderate cross sectional and longitudinal correlations of RQ (relationship quality) to physical and mental health. But why are some relationships successful and satisfying while others even have a negative impact on physical health? A study by Solomon & Jackson [4] using a representative, longitudinal sample suggested that the personality of a couple influences the overall relationship satisfaction, which in turn influences the likelihood of break-up. Because most personality traits are stable across different relationships, this naturally leads to the question if they can be used to predict the RQ of a possible future couple. This could allow for forms of matchmaking which increase RQ and therefore the wellbeing of both partners.




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