Dyadic effects of attachment and relationship functioning

Elizabeth B. Lozano, Wing Yan Sze, R. Chris Fraley, Jia Y. Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some scholars have proposed that people in couples in which at least one person is secure are just as satisfied as people in which both members are secure (i.e., buffering hypothesis). The present investigation tested this hypothesis by examining how relationship satisfaction varies as a function of the attachment security of both dyad members. Secondary analyses were performed using data from two studies (Study 1: 172 couples; Study 2: 194 couples) in which heterosexual dating couples were asked to complete self-reports of their own attachment style and relationship satisfaction. To evaluate the buffering hypothesis, we fit a standard APIM using SEM and added an actor × partner interaction term to our model. Contrary to expectations, our results suggested that secure partners do not “buffer” insecurely attached individuals. Moreover, partner attachment did not explain satisfaction much above and beyond actor effects. This work addresses a gap in the literature with respect to the dynamic interplay of partner pairing, allowing scholars to better understand attachment processes in romantic relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1572-1595
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • APIM
  • attachment
  • dyadic data
  • romantic relationships
  • satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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