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Partner similarity matters for the insecure: Attachment orientations moderate the association between similarity in partners’ personality traits and relationship satisfaction

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Abstract

A longitudinal sample of romantic couples was used to examine whether attachment security moderates the association between partners’ personality-trait-similarity to each other and their relationship satisfaction. Replicating previous research, there were no bivariate associations between trait-similarity and satisfaction. However, partners’ perceptions of personality-similarity were associated with satisfaction. Attachment styles also moderated the curvilinear associations between partners’ trait-similarity and satisfaction. People with high attachment avoidance and low attachment anxiety (dismissing attachment) seemed to have an optimal level of similarity in which satisfaction was maximized at moderate levels of similarity. People with low avoidance and high anxiety (preoccupied attachment) exhibited the opposite pattern, expressing higher levels of satisfaction if their partner was highly similar or dissimilar to them.

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... The dominance complementarity theory (Carson, 1969;Kiesler, 1983) has been widely applied to interpersonal interaction studies. Prior research has verified that roommate dyads with dissimilar neuroticism tend to produce more positive emotion and behavioral attraction compared to those with similar neuroticism (Hudson and Fraley, 2014). Applications of this theory have also identified a positive correlation between extraversion personality incongruence of leader-follower dyads and follower job engagement, and it were based on an increased balance of job resources and reduced conflicts (Chen et al., 2016). ...
... This finding is similar to a prior study that showed that neuroticism incongruence was beneficial for roommates and that there were more positive emotions and behavior among dissimilar neurotic roommates than similar ones (Luther and Benkenstein, 2017). However, this result is contrary to a longitudinal study of romantic couples that found that moderate congruence in neuroticism predicted higher levels of relationship satisfaction (Hudson and Fraley, 2014). Specifically, a male partner had lower relationship satisfaction in a relationship with dissimilar levels of neuroticism (Hudson and Fraley, 2014). ...
... However, this result is contrary to a longitudinal study of romantic couples that found that moderate congruence in neuroticism predicted higher levels of relationship satisfaction (Hudson and Fraley, 2014). Specifically, a male partner had lower relationship satisfaction in a relationship with dissimilar levels of neuroticism (Hudson and Fraley, 2014). These inconsistent results could be explained as follows. ...
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Background The dominance complementarity theory argues that effective and continuing interpersonal relationships require complementary dominance and submission values. This theory has been widely applied to interpersonal interaction studies. Although studies have demonstrated the correlation between neurotic personality traits and general well-being (GWB) in older adults, the interpersonal interactions and psychological mechanisms underlying this effect remain unclear.AimUsing this theory, we explored the effect of the neuroticism fit between older adults and primary caregivers on older adults’ GWB and examined the mediating role of psychological resilience (PR).Methods One hundred sixty-one dyads of older adults and primary caregivers in nursing homes completed scales that included the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Revised Short Scale, the 10-Item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, and the GWB Schedule. We performed a cross-level polynomial regression, response surface modeling and mediating effect test to analyze the data.Results(1) Older adults’ GWB was higher when the neuroticism fit between older adults and primary caregivers was incongruent rather than congruent (p < 0.01). (2) In cases of incongruence, older adults’ GWB was higher only if their neuroticism was lower than that of their primary caregivers (p < 0.01). (3) In cases of congruence, older adults’ GWB was higher when the neuroticism of both sides was lower (p < 0.01). (4) PR partially mediated the relationship between neuroticism incongruence and older adults’ GWB (indirect effect = 0.14, p < 0.01).Conclusion The neuroticism incongruence between older adults and primary caregivers was beneficial to older adults’ GWB and was partially mediated by PR.
... The results suggest only a small actor effect for similarity on relationship satisfaction (Furler et al., 2014). Finally, research of Hudson and Fraley (2014) tested the linear and quadratic association between personality similarity and satisfaction while controlling for main effects of self-reported personality. Their findings suggest a linear and significant relationship between traitspecific similarity for agreeableness and relationship satisfaction and a quadratic relationship between similarity on neuroticism and relationship satisfaction with moderate neuroticism similarity being optimal for relationship satisfaction (Hudson & Fraley, 2014). ...
... Finally, research of Hudson and Fraley (2014) tested the linear and quadratic association between personality similarity and satisfaction while controlling for main effects of self-reported personality. Their findings suggest a linear and significant relationship between traitspecific similarity for agreeableness and relationship satisfaction and a quadratic relationship between similarity on neuroticism and relationship satisfaction with moderate neuroticism similarity being optimal for relationship satisfaction (Hudson & Fraley, 2014). ...
... The study of Hudson and Fraley (2014) has additionally looked at attachment as a possible moderator and suggests that individuals with a preoccupied attachment style were most satisfied with their relationship when their partner was either very similar or dissimilar in personality. In contrast, individuals with a dismissing attachment representation benefitted most from a moderate similarity level with the partner. ...
Article
Personality has been found to play an important role in predicting satisfaction in couples. This review presents dyadic research on the association between Big Five traits and both life and relationship satisfaction in couples focusing on self-reported personality, partner-perceived personality (how the partner rates one's own personality), and personality similarity. Furthermore, special attention is given to possible gender effects. The findings indicate the importance of self-reported as well as partner-perceived reported personality for the satisfaction of both partners. Specifically, the majority of studies found intrapersonal and interpersonal effects for neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness on life or relationship satisfaction. For the partner-perceived personality, intrapersonal and interpersonal effects were present for all Big Five traits. Partners' similarity in personality traits seems not to be related with their satisfaction when controlling for partners' personality.
... 93). In addition, that outcome seems to echo empirical findings that "similarity between partners reduces conflicts" (Acitelli, Kenny, & Weiner, 2001, p. 180) and that perceived similarity in (a) motives for being involved in the relationship (Hagemeyer, Neberich, Asendorph, & Neyer, 2013), (b) personality (Furler, Gomez, & Grob, 2014;Hudson & Fraley, 2014), and (c) political attitudes and personal values (Leikas, Ilmarinen, Verkasalo, Vartiainen, & Lönnqvist, 2018) is linked to increased relationship satisfaction. Moreover, whereas high relationship satisfaction typically is associated with secure attachment (see Eğeci & Gençöz, 2006) and with feeling understood during conflict (A. ...
... This reflects existing literature that relationship satisfaction can become enhanced by similarity between partners (Acitelli et al., 2001;Furler et al., 2014;Hagemeyer et al., 2013;Husdon & Fraley, 2014;Leikas et al., 2018;Reizer et al., 2014) and/or by a relationship's ability to offer opportunities for self-expansion (Aron et al., 1998;Fivecoat et al., 2015;McIntyre et al., 2015). (Sened et al., 2017;Smith et al., 2008), (f) Adlerian birth order (Crain, 2017), (g) Bowenian differentiation of self (Norona & Welsh, 2016), (h) Big Five personality traits (Furler et al., 2014;Hudson & Fraley, 2014;Weidmann, Ledermann, & Grob, 2017), (i) political attitudes and personal values (Leikas et al., 2018), (j) work-life balance (Yucel, 2018), (k) sexual satisfaction (Fallis, Rehman, Woody, & Purdon, 2016;Mark & Jozkowski, 2013;Yoo et al., 2014), (l) perception of mate value (Hromatko, Bajoghli, Rebernjak, Joshaghani, & Tadinac, 2015), and (m) consistency between ideal standards and perceived attributes in one's partner (Buyukcan-Tetik, Campbell, Finkenauer, Karremans, & Kappen, 2017). Conversely, detractors to relationship satisfaction include: (a) viewing one's partner's personality strengths as having significant costs (Kashdan et al., 2018), (b) incongruence of motives for being involved in the relationship (Hagemeyer et al., 2013), (c) hypermasculinity (Karakis & Levant, 2012;Lentz, 2017), and (d) inconsistent interpersonal behavior (Sadikaj, Rappaport, Moskowitz, Zuroff, Koestner, & Powers, 2015), dominant behavior (Sadikaj, Moscowitz, & Zuroff, 2017), shyness (Luster et al., 2013), and depression (Li & Johnson, 2018) in one's partner. ...
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Chapman identified and described Five Love Languages (LLs), principal value systems by which individuals communicate and anticipate expression of affection: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Although Chapman’s model has become embraced by laypeople and helping professionals, it remains relatively underresearched. In this exploratory study, multivariate clustering procedures were used to identify profiles of combinations of LLs (as measured by Chapman’s Love Languages Personal Profile for Couples) in 100 couples. Emphasis was given not only to men’s and women’s primary LLs but also to differences between men and women within each couple as quantified by mean differences and Cohen’s d effect sizes thereof across the combination of all five LLs. In comparing the clustering variable means of the final cluster solution, it was found that the four profiles matched well and varied in a statistically significant manner. The relationship between the four-cluster solution and couples’ reported levels of global relational satisfaction (as measured by the Revised Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale) also was assessed. Although no significant differences were found in the distress profiles across the four clusters (likely due to insufficient variability based on a majority nondistressed sample), results did suggest a trend whereby couples were less likely to report distress the more their combination of LL preferences was congruent. This study makes several methodological contributions to an emerging literature on the LLs, and the results provide a foundation for further research, particularly on how Chapman’s model contributes to understanding the relationships between intimate relationships, self-development, and self-expansion.
... A hypothetical example for a linear association between similarity and satisfaction is that couples, which are very similar, report high relationship satisfaction, whereas couples that are dissimilar report low relationship satisfaction. However, recent evidence corroborates the notion that for some traits moderate similarity might yield the best effect on relationship satisfaction (Hudson & Fraley, 2014). Further, the results of difference scores and profile similarity differ commonly from results of polynomial regressions (Edwards, 1993;Edwards & Van Harrison, 1993). ...
... Further investigations might focus not on actual but rather on perceived similarity in romantic couples (Iafrate, Bertoni, Margola, Cigoli, & Acitelli, 2012;Tidwell, Eastwick, & Finkel, 2013). Moreover, evidence suggests important moderating factors explaining the association between personality similarity and satisfaction in couples (Hudson & Fraley, 2014), for instance the importance ratings of similarity on specific personality characteristics (Lutz-Zois, Bradley, Mihalik, & Moorman-Eavers, 2006). Further, the majority of couple research, including the current study, focuses on heterosexual couples. ...
Article
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Being with a well-matched partner seems essential for a happy relationship. However, past research on personality similarity in couples has reported inconsistent findings. The current study employs a dyadic polynomial regression approach to take into account linear and curvilinear associations between similarity and satisfaction. The concurrent results based on data of 237 couples suggest that beyond actor effects for neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness and partner effects for agreeableness, similarity plays a negligible role for relationship satisfaction. Longitudinally, two similarity effects emerged. First, if partners reported dissimilar neuroticism levels, male partner reported lower relationship satisfaction. Second, if both partners reported modest levels in openness, female partners reported higher relationship satisfaction. Implications for couples are discussed.
... A hypothetical example for a linear association between similarity and satisfaction is that couples, which are very similar, report high relationship satisfaction, whereas couples that are dissimilar report low relationship satisfaction. However, recent evidence corroborates the notion that for some traits moderate similarity might yield the best effect on relationship satisfaction (Hudson & Fraley, 2014). Further, the results of difference scores and profile similarity differ commonly from results of polynomial regressions (Edwards, 1993;Edwards & Van Harrison, 1993). ...
... Further investigations might focus not on actual but rather on perceived similarity in romantic couples (Iafrate, Bertoni, Margola, Cigoli, & Acitelli, 2012;Tidwell, Eastwick, & Finkel, 2013). Moreover, evidence suggests important moderating factors explaining the association between personality similarity and satisfaction in couples (Hudson & Fraley, 2014), for instance the importance ratings of similarity on specific personality characteristics (Lutz-Zois, Bradley, Mihalik, & Moorman-Eavers, 2006). Further, the majority of couple research, including the current study, focuses on heterosexual couples. ...
Preprint
Being with a well-matched partner seems essential for a happy relationship. However, past research on personality similarity in couples has reported inconsistent findings. The current study employs a dyadic polynomial regression approach to take into account linear and curvilinear associations between similarity and satisfaction. The concurrent results based on data of 237 couples suggest that beyond actor effects for neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness and partner effects for agreeableness, similarity plays a negligible role for relationship satisfaction. Longitudinally, two similarity effects emerged. First, if partners reported dissimilar neuroticism levels, male partner reported lower relationship satisfaction. Second, if both partners reported modest levels in openness, female partners reported higher relationship satisfaction. Implications for couples are discussed.
... A possible explanation of this phenomenon may be that the relation between dyadic adjustment and similarity is not necessarily linear. It is, for instance, possible that moderate rather than high similarity between partners has a positive effect on relationship satisfaction (Hudson & Fraley, 2014). Personality similarity does, however, seem to have a much smaller impact on relationship satisfaction than the actor and partner effects (Weidmann, Schönbrodt, et al., 2017) and it is also possible that certain moderating factors, such as attachment style (Hudson & Fraley, 2014) or self-esteem (Weidmann, Ledermann, & Grob, 2017), can have a considerable impact on the relation between personality similarity and relationship satisfaction. ...
... It is, for instance, possible that moderate rather than high similarity between partners has a positive effect on relationship satisfaction (Hudson & Fraley, 2014). Personality similarity does, however, seem to have a much smaller impact on relationship satisfaction than the actor and partner effects (Weidmann, Schönbrodt, et al., 2017) and it is also possible that certain moderating factors, such as attachment style (Hudson & Fraley, 2014) or self-esteem (Weidmann, Ledermann, & Grob, 2017), can have a considerable impact on the relation between personality similarity and relationship satisfaction. ...
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Evidence suggests that personality may influence romantic relationship quality in several ways. Quality of relationship can be affected by an individual's personality (actor effect), partner's personality (partner effect), by discrepancy between ideal and actual partners' personalities (discrepancy effect), or by similarity between partners' personalities (similarity effect). Most studies, however, focus on just one of these effects, their results are often ambiguous, and based on western populations. We tested all these effects at once in individuals from two distinct populations: Brazil and the Czech Republic. In total, 626 individuals in a long-term committed relationship completed the Ten-Item Personality Inventory for their own, actual, and ideal partner, and the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale. Hierarchical categorical regression analyses showed that the actor and partner effect contributed significantly, although weakly, to dyadic adjustment, while the impact of discrepancy and similarity was negligible. Explained variance was around 10% for the actor effect, around 30% jointly for actor and partner effects, and around 40% jointly for actor, partner, discrepancy, and similarity effects. The overall results were similar for both studied populations. Importantly, all reported effect sizes are small, which suggests that other factors contribute to dyadic adjustment more substantially.
... One of the most important limitations of both difference scores and profile correlations is that they assume one model (i.e., absolute similarity) without considering the fit of alternative models (Edwards, 1993;Nestler, Grimm, & Schönbrodt, 2015). Past research on personality similarity effects have typically compared models of main effects and absolute similarity with a model including only main effects (Dyrenforth et al., 2010;Furler et al., 2013;Hudson & Fraley, 2014; Table 1). ...
... In other words, complementarity might matter more than similarity as suggested by Carson (1969) and others who argued that two people may complement each other when they have equal levels of warmth, but opposite levels of dominance. Even for a single trait, both similarity and complementarity might contribute to well-being in romantic relationships, resulting in moderate levels of similarity leading to optimal well-being (Hudson & Fraley, 2014). Because difference scores and profile correlations treat actor personality, partner personality, and personality similarity as three separate linear predictors, they cannot adequately examine how each combination of actor and partner personality traits relate to well-being. ...
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The current study aimed to conceptually replicate previous studies on the effects of actor personality, partner personality, and personality similarity on general and relational well-being by using response surface analyses and a longitudinal sample of 4,464 romantic couples. Similar to previous studies using difference scores and profile correlations, results from response surface analyses indicated that personality similarity explained a small amount of variance in well-being as compared with the amount of variance explained by linear actor and partner effects. However, response surface analyses also revealed that second-order terms (i.e., the interaction term and quadratic terms of actor and partner personality) were systematically linked to couples’ well-being for all traits except neuroticism. In particular, most response surfaces showed a complex pattern in which the effect of similarity and dissimilarity on well-being depended on the level and combination of actor and partner personality. In addition, one small but robust similarity effect was found, indicating that similarity in agreeableness was related to women’s experience of support across the eight years of the study. The discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for theory and research on personality similarity in romantic relationships.
... In contrast, Luo and Klohnen (2005) found positive associations between similarity and marital quality for personality-related domains, but not for attitude-related domains. In a recent study, Hudson and Fraley (2014) found couple's similarity in agreeableness and emotional stability linked to relationship satisfaction. ...
... In line with IIT, our hypothesis regarding dominance congruence (Hypothesis 1) only considered a linear effect; however, to align with other polynomial regression research (e.g. Hudson & Frarley, 2014;Wilson, DeRue, Matta, Howe, & Conolon, 2016), we conducted a posthoc analysis evaluating the curvature along the line of congruence (a2 = b(FOL 2 ) + b(FOL * LDR) + b(LDR 2 )). Significant curvature suggests that the effect of leader-follower dominance congruence is curvilinear. ...
Article
Across two studies, we explore the configurational effects of leader and follower dominance on dyadic relationship conflict and subsequent abusive supervision. Drawing from the central tenets of social dominance and interpersonal interaction theories, we propose that various leader-follower dominance combinations can incite abusive supervision via relationship conflict. We first suggest that when leaders and followers are both high on dominance, relationship conflict is likely to result. Furthermore, we suggest that when leaders and followers have incongruent dominance, relationship conflict is also more likely to occur. Finally, we propose that relationship conflict will mediate the relationship between these congruent and incongruent combinations and abusive supervision. Using polynomial regression and response surface analysis, we found support for our hypotheses, and reveal that both high- and low-dominance leaders are susceptible to conflict and subsequent abuse, depending on their followers’ dominance. Our research contributes to the existing literature on antecedents of abusive supervision by integrating the role of dominance using configurational and relational perspectives.
... Thus, it is possible that the lower reliability might have led to the underestimation of similarity effects on well-being. Although it is worth noting that our results mostly converged with other studies that utilized measures of varying lengths (e.g., Dyrenforth et al., 2010;Furler et al., 2013;Hudson & Fraley, 2014;Weidmann et al., 2017), additional studies examining similarity within couples using more reliable measures of personality traits are needed. ...
Article
The current study examined actor, partner, and similarity effects of personality on a variety of well-being indices, including both global and experiential measures of well-being in 2,578 heterosexual couples (N = 5,156 individuals; M age = 51.04, SD = 13.68) who completed the 2016 Wellbeing and Daily Life supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Among actor effects, those for conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism were the most robust predictors of well-being. Among partner effects, conscientiousness and neuroticism were the most robust predictors of well-being. Consistent with past research, similarity effects on well-being were generally small and not always significant. The results are discussed in the context of experiential conceptualizations of well-being and operationalizing similarity in relationship research.
... The elastic net managed to cope very well with the large amount of highly correlated variables. Future studies could examine the possibility of unexplained non-linear personality-RQ association, such as those studied by Hudson & Fraley [46] or Joel, Eastwick & Finkel [10] through the application of non-linear ML methods like decision-trees. ...
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To what extent is it possible to use machine learning to predict the outcome of a relationship, based on the personality of both partners? In the present study, relationship satisfaction, conflicts, and separation (intents) of 192 partners four years after the completion of questionnaires concerning their personality traits was predicted. A 10x10-fold cross-validation was used to ensure that the results of the linear regression models are reproducible. The findings indicate that machine learning techniques can improve the prediction of relationship quality (37% of variance explained), and that the perceived relationship quality of a partner is mostly dependent on his or her own individual personality traits. Additionally, the influences of different sets of variables on predictions are shown: partner and similarity effects did not incrementally predict relationship quality beyond actor effects and general personality traits predicted relationship quality less strongly than relationship-related personality.
... For our study, the discussions of scientists about the main indicators of temporal prospects are especially valuable (Andersen & Thorpe, 2009;Hudson & Fraley, 2014;Ksendzova et al., 2015;Parks & Guay, 2009): ...
... Another study found that individuals tended to select those with similar personalities as friends (Bahns et al., 2017). Hudson and Fraley (2014) found a quadratic relationship between partners' personality-trait-similarity and relationship satisfaction among people with low avoidance and high anxiety. The existing conclusions seem to be inconclusive. ...
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The “similarity-attraction” effect stands as one of the most well-known findings in social psychology. However, some research contends that perceived but not actual similarity influences attraction. The current study is the first to examine the effects of actual and perceived similarity simultaneously during a face-to-face initial romantic encounter. Participants attending a speed-dating event interacted with ∼12 members of the opposite sex for 4 min each. Actual and perceived similarity for each pair were calculated from questionnaire responses assessed before the event and after each date. Data revealed that perceived, but not actual, similarity significantly predicted romantic liking in this speed-dating context. Furthermore, perceived similarity was a far weaker predictor of attraction when assessed using specific traits rather than generally.
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This study utilized an idiographic approach to investigate the relation between similarity on valued characteristics and relationship success. College students (N = 247) rated their current romantic partner on perceived similarity in personality, attitudes, interests, and religious affiliation; the importance of similarity in these dimensions; and relationship satisfaction. Relationship status was assessed 6 weeks later. Results revealed significant similarity by importance interactions for religion and interests in predicting satisfaction. Participants with high perceived similarity in religion or interests reported greater satisfaction than did their low similarity counterparts, but only to the extent that they rated this type of similarity as being important to them. Similar results were found for attitudes in predicting Time 2 outcomes.
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Both personality similarity and complementarity have been hypothesized to underlie mate selection. However, neither hypothesis has received strong and consistent empirical support. This study examined personality matching in couples by taking within-couple similarity as the basic unit of analysis. On the assumptions that individuals seek in another what they value in themselves but that they cannot always get what they want, it was hypothesized (a) that the similarity of partners' self-descriptions is positively related to self-liking, (b) that there is assortative mating for self-liking, (c) that there is significant similarity between subjects' ideal self-descriptions and their perceptions of their partners, and (d) that participants bias their perceptions of their partners in the direction of their ideal self-conceptions. The authors examined and found support for the four hypotheses by analyzing California Q-set ratings provided by both partners of couples, who described themselves, their ideal selves and their partners.
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The authors review the theory of romantic, or pair-bond, attachment as it was originally formulated by C. Hazan and P. R. Shaver in 1987 and describe how it has evolved over more than a decade. In addition, they discuss 5 issues related to the theory that need further clarification: (a) the nature of attachment relationships, (b) the evolution and function of attachment in adulthood, (c) models of individual differences in attachment, (d) continuity and change in attachment security, and (e) the integration of attachment, sex, and caregiving. In discussing these issues, they provide leads for future research and outline a more complete theory of romantic attachment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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[provide an] analysis of working models with regard to adult attachment / [consider] the structure and content of these models, including how they may differ for adults with different attachment styles / use [developmental literature] as a point of departure for suggesting how models of self and others are likely to be characterized in adulthood / consider how these models function and the processes through which they shape cognitive, emotional, and behavioral response patterns / incorporate attachment theory with a broader literature in cognitive social psychology on the role of mental representations in social functioning / [consider] the processes through which working models are likely to undergo adaptation and change (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Three studies were conducted to examine the correlates of adult attachment. In Study 1, an 18-item scale to measure adult attachment style dimensions was developed based on Hazan and Shaver's (1987) categorical measure. Factor analyses revealed three dimensions underlying this measure: the extent to which an individual is comfortable with closeness, feels he or she can depend on others, and is anxious or fearful about such things as being abandoned or unloved. Study 2 explored the relation between these attachment dimensions and working models of self and others. Attachment dimensions were found to be related to self-esteem, expressiveness, instrumentality, trust in others, beliefs about human nature, and styles of loving. Study 3 explored the role of attachment style dimensions in three aspects of ongoing dating relationships: partner matching on attachment dimensions; similarity between the attachment of one's partner and caregiving style of one's parents; and relationship quality, including communication, trust, and satisfaction. Evidence was obtained for partner matching and for similarity between one's partner and one's parents, particularly for one's opposite-sex parent. Dimensions of attachment style were strongly related to how each partner perceived the relationship, although the dimension of attachment that best predicted quality differed for men and women. For women, the extent to which their partner was comfortable with closeness was the best predictor of relationship quality, whereas the best predictor for men was the extent to which their partner was anxious about being abandoned or unloved.
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The quality of romantic relationships and their associations with both partners' personality traits and social networks were studied in 100 younger couples. The similarity of partners was modest with respect to personality traits, and moderate to large with respect to the perceived quality of the partner relationship and their social networks. While similarity in personality was unrelated to relationship quality, dyadic analyses showed that one's perceived quality of relationship was better predicted by one's own personality (i.e. actor effects) than by the personality of one's partner (i.e. partner effects). Moreover, relationship quality could to some extent be predicted by the quality of the social network once the personality traits of each partner were controlled. Results are discussed from a transactional view of personality and relationships. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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We examined the stability of ratings on the Hazan and Shaver (1987) single-item attachment style scale in a number of data sets, gathered by us and other researchers. Approximately 30% of subjects overall changed their attachment style classifications over a relatively short time span (ranging from 1 week to several months). The highest rate of instability was observed in subjects who classified themselves as anxious-ambivalent–the majority of whom changed their ratings from one time to the next. Given these findings, we explore the methodological and conceptual implications of instability in attachment style ratings. With regard to the former, we question the current practice of selecting subjects for participation in research based on responses to the attachment style questionnaire administered on a different occasion. Our findings suggest that a substantial proportion would change their style rating in the interim. In terms of conceptualization, we examine a number of different explanations for the observed instability and propose that it may reflect variability in the underlying construct, rather than a lack of continuity in style or unreliability of measurement. From this perspective, an individual's response to an attachment style questionnaire reflects the relational schema that is activated at that moment, rather than an enduring general disposition or trait. Stability in ratings is therefore neither assumed nor expected.
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The association between actual and perceptual personality similarity and perceptual accuracy on relationship satisfaction is examined in 191 couples. Self- and partner ratings of personality were assessed using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (P. T. Costa & R. R. McCrae, 1992) and relationship satisfaction using the Relationship Assessment Scale (S. S. Hendrick, A. Dicke, & C. Hendrick, 1998). Actual and perceptual similarity and perceptual accuracy were quantified using the index of profile agreement (R. R. McCrae, 1993) and L. J. Cronbach and G. C. Gleser's (1953) D-indices. These indices showed large variability in personality profiles within couples and considerable perceptual accuracy between raters. Actual similarity was positively associated with female relationship satisfaction, controlling for personality traits of both partners. Moreover, partial support was obtained for the positive associations between perceptual similarity and accuracy and relationship satisfaction.
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Numerous studies proved that people tend to select partners that are similar to them with regard to many social and psychological variables. Even though this effect was also found for personality, results are inconsistent and reveal convergence coefficients ranging from negative over zero- to positive correlations. The present study thus aims to investigate personality congruence between spouses and to examine (a) which dimensions show a high degree of congruence and which do not and (b) in how far this congruence is moderated by the marriage duration. Analyses were based on 6,909 couples who are representative for the German adult population. Results reveal that among the Big Five dimensions, there are strong differences in spouses’ congruences. While for Extraversion and Emotional Stability, congruence is close to zero, correlations averaging at .30 are found for Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness. The spouses’ congruences in these three dimensions also increase over marriage duration from a mean of r = .22 to r = .40.
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This research examined the hierarchical structure of attachment representations by directly measuring both global attachment orientations within distinct relationship domains (romantic, familial, and friendship), and attachment within a comprehensive range of specific relationships within each of these domains (e.g., current romantic partner, mother, best friend). In two independent samples, Hierarchical Linear Modeling analyses demonstrated that domain-specific representations were strongly associated with attachment ratings of specific relationships within that same domain (domain-relationship congruent associations) but were not (in general) associated with ratings of relationship-specific attachment in other domains (domain-relationship incongruent associations). These results provide evidence for the domain differentiation of multiple attachment representations – a defining feature of a hierarchically organized attachment representational network. Directions for future research integrating representations of attachment-related domains with the higher-order personality-esque component of the attachment representational hierarchy are briefly discussed.
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Compassion and pride serve contrasting social functions: Compassion motivates care-taking behavior, whereas pride enables the signaling and negotiation of rank within social hierarchies. Across 3 studies, compassion was associated with increased perceived self-other similarity, particularly to weak or vulnerable others. In contrast, pride was associated with an enhanced sense of similarity to strong others, and a decreased sense of similarity to weak others. These findings were obtained using trait measures (Study 1) and experimental inductions (Studies 2 and 3) of compassion and pride, examining the sense of similarity to strong or weak groups (Studies 1 and 2) and unfamiliar individuals (Study 3). The influences of compassion and pride on perceived self-other similarity could not be accounted for by positive mood, nor was this effect constrained by the ingroup status of the target group or individual. Discussion focuses on the contributions these findings make to an understanding of compassion and pride.
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A new 4-group model of attachment styles in adulthood is proposed. Four prototypic attachment patterns are defined using combinations of a person's self-image (positive or negative) and image of others (positive or negative). In Study 1, an interview was developed to yield continuous and categorical ratings of the 4 attachment styles. Intercorrelations of the attachment ratings were consistent with the proposed model. Attachment ratings were validated by self-report measures of self-concept and interpersonal functioning. Each style was associated with a distinct profile of interpersonal problems, according to both self- and friend-reports. In Study 2, attachment styles within the family of origin and with peers were assessed independently. Results of Study 1 were replicated. The proposed model was shown to be applicable to representations of family relations; Ss' attachment styles with peers were correlated with family attachment ratings.
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How is personality stability possible amid the myriad of social changes and transformations that characterize a human life? We argue that by choosing situations that are compatible with their dispositions and by affiliating with similar others, individuals may set in motion processes of social interchange that sustain their dispositions across time and circumstance. To test this proposition we examined mate selection, using data on married couples from two ongoing longitudinal studies at the Institute of Human Development, University of California, Berkeley. Consistent with other research, the results point to homogamy as a basic norm in marriage. More important, the results show that marriage to a similar other promotes consistency in the intraindividual organization of personality attributes across middle adulthood. We offer some speculations for a more relational approach to the problem of individual continuity and change.
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This article explores the possibility that romantic love is an attachment process--a biosocial process by which affectional bonds are formed between adult lovers, just as affectional bonds are formed earlier in life between human infants and their parents. Key components of attachment theory, developed by Bowlby, Ainsworth, and others to explain the development of affectional bonds in infancy, were translated into terms appropriate to adult romantic love. The translation centered on the three major styles of attachment in infancy--secure, avoidant, and anxious/ambivalent--and on the notion that continuity of relationship style is due in part to mental models (Bowlby's "inner working models") of self and social life. These models, and hence a person's attachment style, are seen as determined in part by childhood relationships with parents. Two questionnaire studies indicated that relative prevalence of the three attachment styles is roughly the same in adulthood as in infancy, the three kinds of adults differ predictably in the way they experience romantic love, and attachment style is related in theoretically meaningful ways to mental models of self and social relationships and to relationship experiences with parents. Implications for theories of romantic love are discussed, as are measurement problems and other issues related to future tests of the attachment perspective.