Relationship beliefs about change and attachment on relationship persistence.
Neo, Hwee Chin.
Date of Issue2013
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Relationship beliefs and attachment styles are cognitive representations of interpersonal relationships found to contribute to the functioning, development and resolution of close relationships (Sprecher, Wenzel, & Harvey, 2008). The present study aimed to extrapolate Rogge and Bradbury’s (2002) multidimensional approach to the understanding of relationship-change by exploring the construct of change that involve both intentional interventions and naturally occurring changes. Antecedents of relationship change beliefs were also explored following Bowlby’s (1973) proposed model of self, other, and the potential impact of early attachment on adult romantic relationship. The current study investigated the associations between relationship beliefs and attachment, and the implications they have on relational behavior such as persistence in the relationship in the face of conflicts. Three studies were conducted. Study 1 explored the laypeople’s constructs of relationship change through qualitative study. The responses were utilized to develop the Relationship Beliefs about Change (RBC) scale. Study 2 involved validating the RBC which was found to be a three-dimensional construct: Agent of Change (AGC), Inevitable Change (IC), and Managing Change (MC). The MC factor revealed the paradoxical effect of change beliefs on relationship behaviors of Singaporean Chinese, where effort to change is needed to prevent the relationship from changes that might lead to deterioration. Study 3 tested the integrated model that associated attachment and relationship beliefs about change with relationship persistence. Results revealed significant effect of adult attachment on RBC. The potential conflicting effects within RBC’s dimensions were explored where the three components showed meaningfully differential effects on relationship persistence.