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Tracing the center’s journey through scholarly seas: A study on the evolving tides of romantic love

In a recent article published within the journal Humanities & Social Communications, researchers reviewed trends in recent research and avenues for future studies as regards to romantic love and relationships. Their findings have implications for the formulation of policies that may promote stronger familial ties and, thus, a more solid and resilient social fabric.

Review: A decade of affection: mapping the landscape of romantic love research through bibliometric evaluation. Image created with the help of DALL·E 3


Romantic love has been defined as an intense eager for union with one other person. The presence of affection results in the transition from the initial stages of a relationship to the communication and satisfaction of a committed partnership. 

Despite the ability of affection, nevertheless, romantic relationships are shorter than ever, and nearly half of first marriages now end in divorce in the US. Commitment is not any longer a big consider relationships, and expectations and experiences of affection also look like changing.

Love is a novel and enigmatic phenomenon that has captivated not only the nice poets but in addition neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists, and biologists. This has led to a wide selection of scholarly work on the topic, covering quite a few disciplinary domains and examining not only the positive emotions that love evokes but in addition the negative behaviors that it may engender.

Bibliometric evaluation, which provides quantitative insights into scientific, technological, and academic work, offers a technique to summarize and synthesize the depth and breadth of this vast literature.

Concerning the study

The Web of Science database was used to discover relevant literature published between 2013 and 2022 using a keyword search. Included studies were written in English; early access articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, retracted publications, and data papers were excluded.

On applying these criteria, 6858 papers were included within the evaluation, which involved generating and interpreting informative and intuitive visual maps in addition to evolutionary and co-occurrence evaluation based on themes and trends identified from the literature.


Since 2013, annual publications and citation counts have shown an upward trend, with a 90-fold surge to 2022. More researchers are specializing in this topic, suggesting that these numbers might rise faster in the approaching years. Greater than 15,000 researchers from 104 countries contributed to those papers.

Network evaluation identified essentially the most influential authors and collaborators on this group; the best author published 74 articles. The trend showed high levels of collaboration between authors from world wide. Nevertheless, dissemination of research was higher in high-income countries, which has implications for well-being.

The 6,858 publications were published in 1,251 journals, with the highest 10 publications accounting for nearly one-fourth of all articles. Journals from the US accounted for half of all publications, while the UK published 40%. China was essentially the most prolific of the developing countries, with 328 publications.

While some papers were published in journals with an impact factor (IF) of nearly 8.5, there have been indications that studies on romantic love may need difficulty getting accepted to high-IF publications (the common IF was 4.070). Psychology journals accounted for 66% of publications, but other disciplines included psychiatry, sociology, women’s studies, and economics.

Keyword evaluation suggested that between 2020 and 2022, the phrases ‘conflict resolution,’ ‘social relationships,’ and ‘same-sex’ peaked in popularity. Non-heterosexual relationships have often been stigmatized, but emerging research shows how destigmatization can result in less dangerous sexual behaviors and better emotional well-being.

A rise in deal with conflict resolution may promote healthier relationship outcomes; on this regard, computer-mediated conflict resolution has shown promise. Studies on social relationships have focused on racial issues and brain scans to look at the neurobiological foundations of affection. In recent times, studies have shown that peer victimization and dating violence have gotten more common in younger age groups and that online dating can result in increases in depression.

Over time, the authors noticed a shift from an idealized view of affection to a more realistic one. Open fields of inquiry include teen dating, intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, and attachment insecurity, with a deal with the interconnected cluster of romantic relationships, gender, and attachment. For instance, there have been clear indicators that male adolescents usually tend to be perpetrators of dating or intimate partner violence.


The findings from this study included trends in research, identified the historical trajectory that scholarship has taken, and assessed fruitful avenues for future exploration. The outcomes are also relevant by way of identifying interventions – for instance, adolescent males might be targeted to cut back the incidence of dating violence. Future studies can expand this research query to databases beyond the Web of Science and include publications written in other languages in addition to grey literature (conference papers, working papers, and other publications.

Journal reference:

  • A decade of affection: mapping the landscape of romantic love research through bibliometric evaluation. Han, Y., Luo, Y., Chen, Z., Gao, N., Song, Y., Liu, S. Humanities & Social Communications (2024), DOI – 10.1057/s41599-024-02665-7, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-024-02665-7
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