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Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication



Major Advisor

Heidi Reeder, Ph.D.


John McClellan, Ph.D.


Kimberly Hardy, Ph.D.


Cognitive interdependence is understood to benefit interpersonal relationships, as high cognitive interdependence is associated with healthier conflict styles, more positive problem solving, and greater relationship stability. The following study compared the degrees of cognitive interdependence between cohabitating and dating relationships to reveal the benefits and shared experiences of these romantic unions. Three predictors of cognitive interdependence—plural pronoun usage, interconnectedness, and centrality of the relationship—were measured using Agnew et al.’s (1998) method. The sample consisted of 159 undergraduate students who are either living with their significant other or are in a dating relationship. Results revealed that cohabitators and daters have similar degrees of cognitive interdependence. In addition, people who plan to marry their partner, whether they are cohabitating or dating, experience higher levels of cognitive interdependence than people who do not have plans to marry their partner. The findings will inform cohabitators and daters about the qualities and experiences within these relationships and provide them with useful information when making relationship choices.