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What fuels passion? An integrative review of competing theories of romantic passion

Carswell, Kathleen L. and Impett, Emily A. (2021) 'What fuels passion? An integrative review of competing theories of romantic passion.', Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 15 (8). e12629.


In an integrative review, we examine four theories and models of romantic passion to determine what causes feelings of romantic passion. Although a growing consensus has emerged for the definition of romantic passion, we suggest that this is largely not the case for the source of romantic passion. We outline how four different perspectives—Limerence Theory, the Rate of Change in Intimacy Model, the Self-Expansion Model, and the Triangular Theory of Love—propose four different potential sources of romantic passion and review empirical support in favor and against each. For each of these perspectives, we additionally outline the predicted trajectory of passion that follows from each theorized source of passion, as well as each perspective's view on the ability for passion to be controlled and up-regulated. In identifying ways in which these theories and models offer conflicting predictions about the source of romantic passion, this review points to ways in which a more comprehensive model may be developed that integrates across these four perspectives.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Authors. Social and Personality Psychology Compass published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:14 May 2021
Date deposited:13 August 2021
Date of first online publication:06 July 2021
Date first made open access:13 August 2021

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