Attachment Orientation Moderates the Relationship Between Dedication and Constraint Commitment and Felt Constraint in Married Couples

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Abstract

This study tested the prediction that attachment orientation would moderate the negative association between dedication and constraint commitment and felt constraint in married couples. Dedication commitment is reflected in wanting to persist in a relationship for the long term, primacy of the relationship to one’s life, and a sense of couple identity. Constraint commitment reflects perceived barriers to terminating a relationship—the social, emotional, moral, and/or economic costs that would be incurred as a result of dissolving the structures that help solidify the relationship. Felt constraint reflects the desire to leave a relationship coupled with feelings of being trapped or stuck in a relationship due to perceptions of too much to lose or it being too difficult to dissolve. Predictions were tested on 628 married couples who completed measures of attachment orientation, dedication and constraint commitment, and felt constraint. Tests of moderation revealed that attachment orientation alters the magnitude of the relationship between dedication and constraint commitment and felt constraint; felt constraint was highest when attachment insecurity was high and dedication and constraint commitment were low.

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