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12-02-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 11/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2015

Romantic Attachment and Family Functioning: The Mediating Role of Marital Satisfaction

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 11/2015
Auteurs:
Marta F. Pedro, Teresa Ribeiro, Katherine H. Shelton

Abstract

The association between spouses’ romantic attachment and family functioning has received both theoretical and empirical support. However, less is known about the mechanisms by which romantic attachment may influence family dynamics. The present study was conducted to assess whether males and females’ marital satisfaction mediated the relationship between spouses’ romantic attachment (avoidance and anxiety) and family functioning (cohesion, adaptability and triangulation of the child). Participants were 519 married or cohabiting couples, with 9 to 13-year-old children, living in Lisbon and the West Cost of Portugal. Parents completed self-report measures of romantic attachment, family cohesion and adaptability and triangulation of the child. Structural Equation Modeling was used to test the mediation model. Results showed an acceptable fit of the model to the data. Marital satisfaction mediated the association between romantic attachment and family functioning. Indirect effects were found between females’ romantic attachment and all three dimensions of family functioning, but males’ romantic attachment was only associated with triangulation of the child. Females’ and males’ attachment avoidance had unique direct relationships with family adaptability and triangulation, after accounting for marital satisfaction mediating effects. Implications of the results for clinical practice are discussed.

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