Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2024

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Amy Moors, Dr. Patrick Boudreau-Alguire


Approximately 1 out of 9 people in the U.S. have engaged in polyamory (Moors et al., 2021), a relationship type in which all involved agree to have multiple romantic and/or sexual partners. Despite the commonness of polyamory, there are many misconceptions about the polyamorous experience. However, research has yet to examine common challenges that people engaged in polyamory endure. The goal of the present qualitative study was to identify the disadvantages and stressors of polyamory in order to shed light on the unique experiences of people in these relationships. 219 adults who were currently in a polyamorous relationship were asked "what are the disadvantages of polyamory" and asked to report a maximum of five responses. The research team developed a codebook of 14 identified themes (e.g., jealousy, emotionally demanding type of relationship, stigma and negative evaluations, and health concerns). Two independent coders were trained on the codebook and iterative feedback was provided after the first 30 participants' data were coded. After coding 763 responses with an inter-rater reliability of 78%, the top four challenges were identified. Time management issues were the most common challenge identified by participants, making up 21.1% of responses. Stigma, jealousy, and emotionally demanding type of relationship were also most commonly identified in the data. The goal of this study was to identify common disadvantages of engaging in a polyamorous relationship. The results of the present study will benefit mental health professionals who are attempting to treat and support individuals who engage in polyamory, as many of these challenges may be presenting concerns in a therapeutic setting. Additionally, people engaging in polyamory may receive validation and comfort knowing that they are not alone in these struggles.


Presented at the Spring 2024 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.