Continuities in support experience: The prediction of marital satisfaction, emotional well-being and distress from attachment style, perceived support and nonsupport in the context of personal strivings

Faye Michelle Jacob, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated patterns of attachment, perceptions of support and nonsupport in the context of personal strivings in married individuals. Marital adjustment and psychological well-being served as outcome variables. The influence of attachment patterns on support and nonsupport perceptions within marriage have not been studied and are most often explored in relation to stress, not positive events, such as personal strivings. It was hypothesized that secure attachment would be related to support perceptions, marital satisfaction and well-being, whereas insecure attachment was hypothesized to be related to nonsupport perceptions and distress. Marital satisfaction was hypothesized to be related to support perceptions and well-being and inversely related to distress and nonsupport perceptions. One hundred and nine participants were recruited through Jewish newspaper advertisements in suburban areas of Pennsylvania and New York which specified that couples were needed for a study of support in marital relationships. Questionnaires consisting of the following instruments were mailed to subjects: Attachment Styles Inventory; Strivings Assessment Scale; Perceived Support and Nonsupport Scale, Dyadic Adjustment Scale and the Mental Health Inventory.^ Results revealed that spouses with secure attachment showed more marital satisfaction, greater well-being and were less likely to experience distress and perceived nonsupport as opposed to those with an insecure attachment. Psychological well-being was predicted from secure attachment, perceived support and marital satisfaction, whereas psychological distress was predicted from perceived nonsupport. Marital satisfaction served as a mediator between secure attachment and well-being and between perceived support and well-being. Those couples in which a husband or wife were insecurely attached experienced more perceived nonsupport and experienced lower levels of marital adjustment. Results suggest that attachment patterns may continue to have an influence upon the spousal relationship and spouses' mental health. Support and nonsupport perceptions should be considered in conjunction when examining support experiences in marriage and personal strivings may be considered a new context through which to investigate such exchanges. Psychological mental health is related to marital quality and therefore, married individuals seeking counseling should be prompted to explore supportive processes within their relationships in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the conflict that may exist therein. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Faye Michelle Jacob, "Continuities in support experience: The prediction of marital satisfaction, emotional well-being and distress from attachment style, perceived support and nonsupport in the context of personal strivings" (January 1, 1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9903719.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9903719

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