Navigating intimate sexual partnerships in an era of HIV: dimensions of couple relationship quality and satisfaction among adults in Eswatini and linkages to HIV risk

SOURCE: Sahara J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): A.Ruark, E.C.Green, A.Nunn, C.Kennedy, A.Adams, T.Dlamini-Simelane, P.J.Surkan
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10960
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/14410

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Couple relationship functioning impacts individual health and well-being, including HIV risk, but scant research has focused on emic understandings of relationship quality in African populations. We explored relationship quality and satisfaction in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) using data from 148 in-depth interviews (117 life-course interviews with 28 adults and 31 interviews with 29 marriage counselors and their clients) and 4 focus group discussions. Love, respect, honesty, trust, communication, sexual satisfaction, and sexual faithfulness emerged as the most salient characteristics of good relationships, with both men and women emphasising love and respect as being most important. Participants desired relationships characterised by such qualities but reported relationship threats in the areas of trust, honesty, and sexual faithfulness. The dimensions of relationship quality identified by this study are consistent with research from other contexts, suggesting cross-cultural similarities in conceptions of a good relationship. Some relationship constructs, particularly respect, may be more salient in a Swazi context.