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Linking Adult Attachment Styles to Relationship Satisfaction in Hong Kong and the United States: The Mediating Role of Personal and Structural Commitment

Abstract

Maintaining a satisfying heterosexual relationship is important to many individuals’ happiness and physical health. Evolutionary theories on the formation of relationships suggest that adult attachment and relationship commitment are universal mechanisms for securing and maintaining such mating relationships. This study sought to understand how these two mechanisms may link to each other and how they in turn contribute to relationship satisfaction with one’s current partner in Hong Kong Chinese and American cultures. Similarities in the model for relationship satisfaction were found among young dating couples in the United States and Hong Kong. Specifically, attachment anxiety was positively linked to structural commitment, whereas attachment avoidance was negatively related to personal commitment. Both dimensions of attachment (anxiety and avoidance) and both components of commitment (personal and structural) were found to predict current relationship satisfaction significantly and equivalently across cultures, with the pathway from attachment avoidance to current relationship satisfaction similarly mediated by personal commitment in both cultural groups. These results were interpreted in terms of a probable universal logic informing the interpersonal dynamics involving attachment and relationship commitment.

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Correspondence to Man Yee Ho.

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Ho, M.Y., Chen, S.X., Bond, M.H. et al. Linking Adult Attachment Styles to Relationship Satisfaction in Hong Kong and the United States: The Mediating Role of Personal and Structural Commitment. J Happiness Stud 13, 565–578 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-011-9279-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-011-9279-1

Keywords

  • Adult attachment
  • Relationship commitment
  • Relationship satisfaction and culture