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Attachment, Relationship Beliefs, and Partner-Specific Assertiveness and Psychological Aggression Among College Students

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Adult attachment is related to several important relationship variables, including physical aggression (e.g., Bookwala & Zdaniuk, 1998; Henderson, Bartholomew, Trinke, & Kwong, 2005) and relationship beliefs (Stackert & Bursik, 2003). In this study, we extended previous findings by examining the specific associations between anxious and avoidant attachment, dysfunctional relationship beliefs, and partner-specific assertiveness and psychological aggressiveness. Results indicated that assertiveness was associated with sex (males reported lower assertiveness) and attachment avoidance (participants high in avoidance reported less assertiveness toward partner). Psychological aggressiveness was related to sex (males reported lower psychological aggressiveness) and attachment (anxious and avoidant attachment were related to more psychological aggressiveness). As predicted, the relation of anxious attachment to psychological aggression was mediated by dysfunctional beliefs. Students with anxious attachment were more likely to believe that disagreements were destructive, which was related to higher rates of perpetrating psychological aggression.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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