Dependence regulation in newlywed couples: A prospective examination


  • Jaye L. Derrick, Research Institute on Addictions, University at Buffalo, SUNY; Kenneth E. Leonard, Research Institute on Addictions and Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University at Buffalo, SUNY; Gregory G. Homish, Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, School of Public Health and Health Professions and Research Institute on Addictions, University at Buffalo, SUNY.

  • This research was supported by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Grant R37-AA09922 awarded to K.E.L. Preparation of the manuscript was also supported by NIAAA postdoctoral training Grant T32-AA007583. Preliminary results of this research were presented at the 117th annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, August 6–9, 2009, in Toronto, Ontario.

Jaye L. Derrick, Research Institute on Addictions, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 1021 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203-1016, e-mail:


According to the risk regulation model (S. L. Murray, J. G. Holmes, & N. L. Collins, 2006), people need to trust in their partner's regard before they risk interdependence. This study prospectively examines the association between perceived regard and levels of dependence in newlywed couples over 9 years of marriage. Analyses demonstrate that changes in perceived regard predict levels of dependence, changes in dependence do not predict perceived regard, and alternative explanations cannot account for these effects. Further, changes in perceived regard prospectively predict divorce, and levels of dependence mediate this association. Results are discussed in terms of the dependence regulation component of the risk regulation model.