Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences


0000-0002-7293-9290; 0000-0003-3386-5898; 0000-0002-2763-5036


Although research shows that perceived social network approval of one’s romantic relationship is linked to higher levels of relationship quality and stability, whether an individual’s opinion of their partner’s network is associated with relationship quality and/or individual mental health remains underexplored. In the present study, we addressed this gap in the research by conducting an online survey of 202 participants between the ages of 18 and 29 who reported currently being in a nonmarital relationship of at least 6 months (81% female; 76% White). Four hierarchical linear regressions were performed to test the associations of reported interference from partner’s friends and family, as well as reported tension regarding partner’s friends and family, on relationship quality and depressive symptoms, controlling for a variety of background variables. Results revealed that reported interference from and tension about partner’s friends negatively predicted relationship quality, whereas interference from and tension about partner’s family did not. In contrast, neither interference from family nor friends predicted depressive symptoms, whereas tension about relationships with both family and friends positively predicted depressive symptoms. Furthermore, trust in the romantic relationship only reduced the associations between interference from and tension about partner’s friends and relationship quality. Our findings indicate the importance of considering the role of the wider social network in couples’ relationships.