A kiss is worth a thousand words: the development and validation of a scale measuring motives for romantic kissing

Ashley E. Thompson, Yvonne Anisimowicz, Danica Kulibert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Research reveals that romantic kissing plays an integral role in relational scripts depicting the progression of intimacy and the expression of love in romantic relationships. Despite its importance, romantic kissing is rarely the primary focus of research. Thus, the three studies reported here advance the literature by developing and validating a scale measuring romantic kissing motives (the YKiss? Scale) and examining gender differences in these motives. In Study One, an exploratory factor analysis yielded a two factor solution: the Sexual/Relational Motives Subscale, which included items related to arousal, love, attraction, and relational scripts; and the Goal Attainment/Insecurity Motives Subscale, which consisted of items pertaining to attaining resources, using kissing as a means, and boosting one's self-esteem. Participants reported kissing for sexual/relational motives more frequently than goal attainment/insecurity motives. In Study Two, a confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the two factor solution resulting in a 42-item scale that demonstrated excellent psychometric properties, with men reporting goal attainment/insecurity motives more frequently than did women. In Study Three, the YKiss? Scale demonstrated adequate temporal consistency. This research provides investigators and practitioners with a useful tool and important insights when measuring the multitude of reasons why adults engage in romantic kissing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-74
Number of pages21
JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists.


  • Romantic kissing
  • gender differences
  • motives
  • scale development


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