Questionnaire measures of attachment, communication patterns, and relationship satisfaction were administered to 361 married couples, sampled across the life cycle of marriage. Individuals who were secure in attachment (defined in terms of comfort with closeness and low anxiety over relationships) tended to be paired with secure spouses. Security of attachment was associated with one’s own relationship satisfaction, although husbands’ satisfaction was related primarily to the anxiety dimension. The most consistent effect of partners’ attachment was an inverse relationship between wives’ anxiety and husbands’ satisfaction. The negative effect of wives’ anxiety on perceived relationship satisfaction (for both partners) was evident primarily for couples in which husbands were uncomfortable with closeness. The association between attachment dimensions and relationship satisfaction was largely mediated by communication patterns for wives, but only partially mediated by communication patterns for husbands; for both husbands and wives, a measure of mutually constructive communication emerged as the strongest correlate of satisfaction. These findings were generally consistent across the life cycle of marriage, and they are important in clarifying the nature of the link between attachment and satisfaction in a broad sample.
Feeney, J. A. (1994). Attachment style, communication patterns, and satisfaction across the life cycle of marriage. Personal Relationships, 1(4), 333-348.