Relation of attachment style with marital conflict

Psychol Rep. 2003 Jun;92(3 Pt 2):1135-40. doi: 10.2466/pr0.2003.92.3c.1135.


During the last decade attachment theory has been used as a framework for understanding how adult relationships function. Attachment theory should focus exploration of whether attachment history might be related to later marital conflicts. The aim of this paper was to examine the relationship of attachment styles with marital conflicts. Subjects were 20 couples who entered couples therapy for their marital conflict and a sample of 20 university student couples. All answered the Adult Attachment Inventory and the Golombok-Rust Inventory of Marital State. The university couples described themselves as more securely attached to their partners than the married couples. The Anxious and Avoidant styles were associated with greater problems in the marital relationship. Secure, Anxious, and Avoidant attachment styles seemed to be associated with the quality of marital relationships. Couples who exhibited a Secure attachment style tended to be involved in relationships characterized by greater interdependence, trust, commitment, and satisfaction whereas those with insecure styles tended to be characterized by more problems.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Couples Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Object Attachment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires