© 2020

Couple Relationships in a Global Context

Understanding Love and Intimacy Across Cultures

  • Angela Abela
  • Sue Vella
  • Suzanne Piscopo

Part of the European Family Therapy Association Series book series (EFTAS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvii
  2. The Significance of the Couple Relationship

  3. How Couple Relationships Are Changing in Different Parts of the World

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 39-39
    2. Lina Kashyap
      Pages 71-83
    3. Hoda Rashad, Zeinab Khadr, Eman Mostafa
      Pages 85-105
    4. Dan Wang, Yan Xia
      Pages 107-124
    5. Suzanne Piscopo, Sue Vella, Angela Abela
      Pages 125-142
  4. Couples in Diversity

  5. Global Trends in Couple Relationships

About this book


This book examines the significance of the couple relationship in the 21st century, exploring in depth how couple relationships are changing in different parts of the world. It highlights global trends and cultural variations that are shaping couple relationships. The book discusses diverse relationships, such as intercultural couples, same sex couples, long distance couples, polygynous marriages, and later life couples. In addition, chapters offer suggestions for ways to best support couples through policy, clinical practices, and community support. The book also investigates aspects of a relationship that help predict fidelity and stability.

Topics featured in this book include:

  • Couple relationships when one partner has an acquired physical disability.
  • Impact of smartphones on relationships.
  • Online dating and its implications for couple relationships.
  • Assessment and intervention in situations of infidelity and non-monogamy.
  • Parenting interventions for the transition from partnership to parenthood.
  • Online couple psychotherapy to support emotional links between long distance partners.

Couple Relationships in a Global Context is an essential resource for researchers, professors, and graduate students as well as clinicians and practitioners in family therapy, clinical psychology, general practice/family medicine, social work, and related psychology and medical disciplines.


couple relationships couple relationships in the 21st century changing couple relationships diversity in couples supporting couples policy and practice in couple relationships couple therapy rise in singledom same sex couple relationships living apart together love relationships in later life polygamy polyandry polyamorous relationships couple support in the community intercultural couple relationships

Editors and affiliations

  • Angela Abela
    • 1
  • Sue Vella
    • 2
  • Suzanne Piscopo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Family Studies, Faculty for Social WellbeingUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta
  2. 2.Department of Social Policy and Social Work, Faculty for Social WellbeingUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta
  3. 3.Department of Health, Physical Education and Consumer Studies, Faculty of EducationUniversity of MaltaMsidaMalta

About the editors

Angela Abela, PhD, is a Professor and founding Head of the Department of Family Studies at the University of Malta, where she teaches clinical psychology and family therapy trainees, Master students in Family Studies, and supervises research. She chairs the National Centre for Family Research of the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society. As a clinical psychologist, family therapist and systemic supervisor she works with couples, children and their families and supervises practitioners working in this area.  She is a consultant for Parliament and the Maltese government. She is lead author of the Strategic Policy on Positive Parenting for Malta launched in 2016. Angela has served as an expert for the Council of Europe in the area of children and families for many years. Her research projects include studies on marital satisfaction, couple conflict and family violence, families living in poverty, lone parent families, parenting, and children in out-of-home care. In 2014, she co-edited Contemporary Issues in Family Studies: Global Perspectives on Partnerships, Parenting and Support in a Changing World with Wiley-Blackwell and coauthored Intervening after violence, Therapy for couples and families with Springer (2017). She is an associate editor of Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, an international advisory editor of Contemporary Family Therapy and is on the editorial board of Children Australia.

Sue Vella, PhD, is a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Malta, where she lectures in social policy.   Prior to joining University, Sue had almost twenty years’ experience in the public sector.  After graduating, she was a founder member of the Domestic Violence Unit in what is today known as the Foundation for Social Welfare Services.   She has since held top management positions at the Employment and Training Corporation and Malta Enterprise and has served on various organisational boards and policy committees.  She was a member of the EU’s Employment Committee for seven years, including two years as Vice-President and Chair of the Committee’s technical group.  Sue is currently a member of the National Centre for Family Research, Chairperson of the Church’s Institute for Research in Malta, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Richmond Malta.  Her research interests include families, the mixed economy of care, housing, employment and migration, and has recently published on long-term care; poverty in the media; and wellbeing.

Suzanne Piscopo, PhD, is the founding Head of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Consumer Studies in the Faculty of Education, University of Malta. She is an Associate Professor in Nutrition, Family and Consumer Studies, mainly training prospective Home Economists, teachers and early childhood educators. Professor Piscopo is a Registered Nutritionist and Registered European Health Promotion Practitioner and is frequently invited as a guest speaker in school and community events and on the media, tackling subjects related to food, health, consumption and finance within the family and societal context. She is currently involved in various international and national projects addressing social determinants of health, the Mediterranean Diet, elderly health, prison health and sustainability education. Over the years, Professor Piscopo has been appointed to multiple national Councils and Advisory Committees. She is a member of the National Centre for Family Research within the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society and is co-researcher in studies on couple relationships and on access to quality food. 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Couple Relationships in a Global Context
  • Book Subtitle Understanding Love and Intimacy Across Cultures
  • Editors Angela Abela
    Sue Vella
    Suzanne Piscopo
  • Series Title European Family Therapy Association Series
  • Series Abbreviated Title European Family Therapy Association Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Behavioral Science and Psychology Behavioral Science and Psychology (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-37711-3
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-37714-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-37712-0
  • Series ISSN 2569-877X
  • Series E-ISSN 2569-8796
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXVII, 435
  • Number of Illustrations 5 b/w illustrations, 6 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Family
    Psychotherapy and Counseling
    Social Work
  • Buy this book on publisher's site