The development of commitment and attachment in dating relationships: attachment security as relationship construct

J Adolesc. 2001 Jun;24(3):401-15. doi: 10.1006/jado.2001.0406.


This study examined attachment security and commitment as predictors of relationship stability in a sample of 51 couples. Attachment and commitment were measured during the Fall and Spring semesters prior to graduation from college and relationship stability was determined by contacting couples approximately one year following graduation from college. Attachment security was measured as a relationship construct (appraisal of the dating partner's availability and responsiveness). Attachment security increased with the length of time in the dating relationship and predicted relationship stability following graduation. We then considered how personality and family of origin factors contributed to positive trajectories within the dating relationship (i.e. the growth of attachment security, commitment and relationship stability). Males' security with their mothers and fathers and reports of open communication between their parents contributed to growth in attachment security and commitment between the Fall and Spring semesters. Attachment styles (assessed as a measure of personality) also predicted relationship stability with both males' and females' security increasing the relationship stability one year after graduation. Implications for understanding attachment as both a personality and relationship construct in adult romantic relationships are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Courtship*
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Personality