Links between attachment orientations and dispositional and diary–based measures of disclosure in dating couples: A study of actor and partner effects


Steven A. Bradford University of Queensland,


Issues concerning the influence of attachment characteristics on own and partner’s disclosure were addressed using a sample of 113 couples in medium–term dating relationships. Individual differences in attachment were assessed in terms of relationship anxiety and avoidance. Disposition to disclose was assessed using questionnaire measures of self–disclosure, relationship–focused disclosure, and the ability to elicit disclosure from the partner; in addition, structured diaries were used to assess aspects of disclosure (amount, intimacy, emotional tone, and satisfaction) in the context of couples’ everyday interactions. Couple–level analyses showed that avoidance strongly predicted dispositional measures of disclosure, whereas anxiety (particularly partner’s anxiety) was related to negative evaluations of everyday interactions. Interactive effects of attachment dimensions and gender were also obtained, highlighting the complexity of communication behavior. The results are discussed in terms of the goals and strategies associated with working models of attachment.