Attachment and Demand/Withdraw Behavior in Couple Interactions: The Moderating Role of Conflict Level
Opel, Katelyn Cogan
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This study examined the relations between clinical couples' secure, preoccupied, dismissive, and fearful avoidant attachment styles and their constructive, demanding, and withdrawing dyadic conflict resolution communication behavior. It also tested whether overall level of relationship conflict moderated the relation between attachment style and communication. The study was a secondary analysis of preexisting data, using a sample of 72 couples who completed assessments at the Center for Healthy Families at the University of Maryland, College Park. The subset of assessment material used for this study included the Relationship Questionnaire, Dyadic Adjustment Scale and Communication Patterns Questionnaire. Results indicated that attachment style was related to types of conflict communication behavior. Also, couples reporting low levels of conflict used more mutual constructive communication than those reporting high levels of conflict. Implications of the study's findings for therapeutic work with couples and suggestions for future research are discussed.