Date of Award

Summer 2007

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Grych, John

Second Advisor

Oswald, Debra

Third Advisor

Franzoi, Stephen


Research examining the associations between conflict in relationships and relationship satisfaction has failed to pay sufficient attention to the powerful role of emotions and it is suggested that attachment theory may serve as a guide to understand how these variables are connected. A model was tested to examine the association between attachment, emotions and behaviors during conflict, and relationship satisfaction in a sample of 151 couples. At two time points, spaced one year apart, couples completed self-report measures and engaged in a conflict discussion. Attachment anxiety predicted negative emotions during conflict, which in turn predicted decreased positivity during conflict. Attachment anxiety predicted increased verbal aggression during conflict, while attachment avoidance predicted decreased relationship satisfaction one year later. Path modeling suggested a good fit with the data (GFI = .96). The results point to the importance of considering attachment anxiety and avoidance in the planning and implementation of therapeutic interventions for individuals and couples experiencing relationship difficulties.



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