Perception in Romantic Relationships: a Latent Profile Analysis of Trait Mindfulness in Relation to Attachment and Attributions

Abstract

To advance understanding of the role of trait mindfulness in attributions for romantic partner transgressions, we examined the direct and indirect associations among attachment, trait mindfulness, and attributions in a sample of 542 young adults in romantic relationships. A latent profile analysis was used to identify four classes of trait mindfulness (i.e., High Mindfulness, Nonjudgmentally Aware, Low Mindfulness, Judgmentally Observing), and a subsequent structural equation model revealed several significant associations among attachment, the classes of trait mindfulness, and benign attributions for partner transgressions. For example, the High Mindfulness class and the Nonjudgmentally Aware class were positively associated with benign attributions. Furthermore, two significant indirect effects emerged. First, heightened attachment anxiety was associated with a decreased probability of being in the Nonjudgmentally Aware class, which was linked to a decrease in benign attributions. Second, avoidant attachment was associated with a decreased probability of membership in the High Mindfulness class, which was linked to a decrease in benign attributions. Areas for future research based on the findings of this study are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Aron, A., Aron, E. N., & Smollan, D. (1992). Inclusion of other in the self scale and the structure of interpersonal closeness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63(4), 596–612.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13(1), 27–45. doi:10.1177/1073191105283504.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Barnhofer, T., Duggan, D. S., & Griffith, J. W. (2011). Dispositional mindfulness moderates the relation between neuroticism and depressive symptoms. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(8), 958–962. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.07.032.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Barnes, S., Brown, K. W., Krusemark, E., Campbell, W. K., & Rogge, R. D. (2007). The role of mindfulness in romantic relationship satisfaction and responses to relationship stress. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33(4), 482-500. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2007.00033.x.

  5. Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Hill, J., Raste, Y., & Plumb, I. (2001). The “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” test revised version: a study with normal adults, and adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 42(2), 241–251.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Bergomi, C., Tschacher, W., & Kupper, Z. (2013). The assessment of mindfulness with self-report measures: existing scales and open issues. Mindfulness, 4(3), 191–202. doi:10.1007/s12671-012-0110-9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss: vol. 3 loss, sadness and depression. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Bravo, A. J., Boothe, L. G., & Pearson, M. R. (2015). Getting personal with mindfulness: a latent profile analysis of mindfulness and psychological outcomes. Mindfulness, 7(2), 1–13. doi:10.1007/s12671-015-0459-7.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Bray, B. C., Lanza, S. T., & Tan, X. (2015). Eliminating bias in classify-analyze approaches for latent class analysis. Structural Equation Modeling, 22(1), 1–11. doi:10.1080/10705511.2014.935265.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822–848.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Cahn, B. R., & Polich, J. (2009). Meditation (Vipassana) and the P3a event-related brain potential. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 72(1), 51–60. doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2008.03.013.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Carson, J. W., Carson, K. M., Gil, K. M., & Baucom, D. H. (2004). Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement. Behavior Therapy, 35(3), 471–494. doi:10.1016/S0005-7894(04)80028-5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Chiesa, A. (2012). The difficulty of defining mindfulness: current thought and critical issues. Mindfulness, 4(3), 255–268. doi:10.1007/s12671-012-0123-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Christopher, M. S., Neuser, N. J., Michael, P. G., & Baitmangalkar, A. (2012). Exploring the psychometric properties of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire. Mindfulness, 3(2), 124–131. doi:10.1007/s12671-011-0086-x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Dykas, M. J., & Cassidy, J. (2011). Attachment and the processing of social information across the life span: theory and evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 137(1), 19–46. doi:10.1037/a0021367.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. van Emmichoven, I. A., van Ijzendoorn, M. H., de Ruiter, C., & Brosschot, J. F. (2003). Selective processing of threatening information: effects of attachment representation and anxiety disorder on attention and memory. Development and Psychopathology, 15(1), 219–237. doi:10.1017/S0954579403000129.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Fincham, F. D., & Bradbury, T. N. (1992). Assessing attributions in marriage: the relationship attribution measure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62(3), 457–468.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Fraley, R. C., Waller, N. G., & Brennan, K. A. (2000). An item response theory analysis of self-report measures of adult attachment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(2), 350–365.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Funk, J. L., & Rogge, R. D. (2007). Testing the ruler with item response theory: increasing precision of measurement for relationship satisfaction with the Couples Satisfaction Index. Journal of Family Psychology, 21(4), 572–583. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.21.4.572.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Gambrel, L. E., & Piercy, F. P. (2015). Mindfulness-based relationship education for couples expecting their first child—part 1: a randomized mixed-methods program evaluation. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41(1), 5–24. doi:10.1111/jmft.12066.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Hall, J. H., & Fincham, F. D. (2008). The temporal course of self-forgiveness. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 27(2), 174–202.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Heppner, W. L., Kernis, M. H., Lakey, C. E., Campbell, W. K., Goldman, B. M., Davis, P. J., & Cascio, E. V. (2008). Mindfulness as a means of reducing aggressive behavior: dispositional and situational evidence. Aggressive Behavior, 34(5), 486–496.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Ho, N. S., Sun, D., Ting, K. H., Chan, C. C., & Lee, T. (2015). Mindfulness trait predicts neurophysiological reactivity associated with negativity bias: an ERP study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015.

  24. Horneffer, K. J., & Fincham, F. D. (1996). Attributional models of depression and marital distress. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22(7), 678–689.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Karremans, J. C., Schellekens, M. P., & Kappen, G. (2015). Bridging the sciences of mindfulness and romantic relationships: a theoretical model and research agenda. Personality and Social Psychology Review. doi:10.1177/1088868315615450.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Kimmes, J. G., & Durtschi, J. A. (2016). Forgiveness in romantic relationships: the roles of attachment, attributions, and empathy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 42(4), 645–658. doi:10.1111/jmft.12171.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Kimmes, J. G., Durtschi, J. A., Clifford, C. E., Knapp, D. J., & Fincham, F. D. (2015). The role of pessimistic attributions in the association between anxious attachment and relationship satisfaction. Family Relations, 64(4), 547–562. doi:10.1111/fare.12130.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Kroenke, K., Spitzer, R. L., & Williams, J. B. (2001). The PHQ-9. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 16(9), 606–613.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  29. Lawler-Row, K. A., Younger, J. W., Piferi, R. L., & Jones, W. H. (2006). The role of adult attachment style in forgiveness following an interpersonal offense. Journal of Counseling & Development, 84, 493–502. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6678.2006.tb00434.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Lenger, K. A., Gordon, C. L., & Nguyen, S. P. (2016). Intra-individual and cross-partner associations between the five facets of mindfulness and relationship satisfaction. Mindfulness, 1–10. doi:10.1007/s12671-016-0590-0.

  31. Lo, Y., Mendell, N. R., & Rubin, D. B. (2001). Testing the number of components in a normal mixture. Biometrika, 88(3), 767–778.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2005). Attachment theory and emotions in close relationships: exploring the attachment-related dynamics of emotional reactions to relational events. Personal Relationships, 12(2), 149–168. doi:10.1111/j.1350-4126.2005.00108.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2012). Adult attachment orientations and relationship processes. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 4(4), 259–274. doi:10.1111/j.1756-2589.2012.00142.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Miller, P. J., & Rempel, J. K. (2004). Trust and partner-enhancing attributions in close relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30(6), 695–705. doi:10.1177/0146167203262803.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998-2012). Mplus user’s guide (Seventh ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Parker, S. C., Watson, B. W., Epel, E. S., & Siegel, D. J. (2015). The science of presence: a central mediator of the interpersonal benefits of mindfulness. In K. W. Brown, R. M. Ryan, & J. D. Creswell (Eds.), Handbook of mindfulness: theory, research, and practice (pp. 245–265). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Pearce, Z. J., & Halford, W. (2008). Do attributions mediate the association between attachment and negative couple communication? Personal Relationships, 15, 155–170. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2008.00191.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Pearson, M. R., Lawless, A. K., Brown, D. B., & Bravo, A. J. (2015). Mindfulness and emotional outcomes: identifying subgroups of college students using latent profile analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 76, 33–38. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.11.009.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  39. Pepping, C. A., O’Donovan, A., & Davis, P. J. (2014). The differential relationship between mindfulness and attachment in experienced and inexperienced meditators. Mindfulness, 5(4), 392–399. doi:10.1007/s12671-012-0193-3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Peters, C. L. O., & Enders, C. (2002). A primer for the estimation of structural equation models in the presence of missing data: maximum likelihood algorithms. Journal of Targeting Measurement and Analysis for Marketing, 11(1), 81–95.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Sato, T. (2005). The Eysenck personality questionnaire brief version: factor structure and reliability. The Journal of Psychology, 139(6), 545–552. doi:10.3200/JRLP.139.6.545-552.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Schwarz, G. (1978). Estimating the dimension of a model. Annals of Statistics, 6(2), 461–464.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Sclove, S. L. (1987). Application of model-selection criteria to some problems in multivariate analysis. Psychometrika, 52(3), 333–343.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Shrout, P. E., & Bolger, N. (2002). Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: new procedures and recommendations. Psychological Methods, 7(4), 422–445. doi:10.1037//1082-989X.7.4.422.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  45. Siegel, D. J. (2007). The mindful brain: reflection and attunement in the cultivation of well-being. New York, NY: WW Norton & Company.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Sümer, N., & Cozzarelli, C. (2004). The impact of adult attachment on partner and self-attributions and relationship quality. Personal Relationships, 11(3), 355–371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Tan, L. B., Lo, B. C., & Macrae, C. N. (2014). Brief mindfulness meditation improves mental state attribution and empathizing. PloS One, 9(10), e110510.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  48. Vago, D. R. (2014). Mapping modalities of self-awareness in mindfulness practice: a potential mechanism for clarifying habits of mind. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1307(1), 28–42. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2012.00212.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. Walsh, J. J., Balint, M. G., Smolira, D. R., Fredericksen, L. K., & Madsen, S. (2009). Predicting individual differences in mindfulness: the role of trait anxiety, attachment anxiety and attentional control. Personality and Individual Differences, 46(2), 94–99. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2008.09.008.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Wang, M., & Hanges, P. J. (2011). Latent class procedures: applications to organizational research. Organizational Research Methods, 14(1), 24–31. doi:10.1177/1094428110383988.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

JGK designed and executed the study, performed the statistical analyses, and wrote the manuscript. JAD collaborated with the design of the study and writing of the manuscript. FDF collaborated in the writing and editing of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jonathan G. Kimmes.

Ethics declarations

This study was approved by the appropriate ethics committee and was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All individuals gave their informed consent prior to participating in the study.

Funding

The data used in this study was collected with funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Minority Fellowship Program (2014 AAMFT MFP Research Grant).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kimmes, J.G., Durtschi, J.A. & Fincham, F.D. Perception in Romantic Relationships: a Latent Profile Analysis of Trait Mindfulness in Relation to Attachment and Attributions. Mindfulness 8, 1328–1338 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0708-z

Download citation

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • Attribution
  • Couples
  • Latent profile analysis
  • Trait mindfulness