Understanding the relationship between attachment style, relationship satisfaction, illness behaviours, and psychological distress in couples

Peta Berenice Stapleton, Anne Woodcroft-Brown, Hannah Chatwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

39 Downloads (Pure)


This study examined the individual and dyadic attachment processes and relationship satisfaction ratings among adults in an intimate relationship and their relationship to psychological distress and illness attitudes. Study participants included 104 individuals (52 couples) who completed a questionnaire package which included the Experiences in Close Relationships Questionnaire-Revised(ECR-R), the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS), the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS21),and the Illness Attitudes Scale (IAS). Findings from the study showed that attachment anxiety was a significant positive predictor of illness behaviors and psychological distress, that relationship satisfaction was a significant negative predictor of psychological distress, and that relationship satisfaction also partially mediated the relationship between attachment style and psychological distress among individuals in an intimate relationship. A series of One-way Analyses of Variance showed that intra-couple dyadic attachment configurations produce significant differences in relationship satisfaction and psychological distress among dyadic units. Further investigation into intra-couple attachment configurations, relationship satisfaction, and the implications on individual psychological and physical health outcomes is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Healing and Caring
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


Cite this