Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)
First Advisor/Committee Member
Lynette Bikos, Ph.D.
Second Advisor/Committee Member
Joel Jin, Ph.D.
Third Advisor/Committee Member
John Thoburn, Ph.D.
Historically, the term marital satisfaction has been used to describe the subjective quality of marriage; however, some researchers have proposed that marital satisfaction as a construct overlooks fundamental relational components that could elucidate a more precise portrayal of marital functioning. Utilizing archival data, I examined individual differences in attachment orientation and trait mindfulness predicting marital expectations, a process that informs marital satisfaction. Using a moderated mediation model, I hypothesized that (a) attachment avoidance would negatively predict marital expectations, (b) trait mindfulness would mediate the relationship between attachment avoidance and marital expectations, (c) attachment anxiety would moderate the relationship between attachment avoidance and marital expectations, (d) attachment anxiety would moderate the relationship between attachment avoidance and trait mindfulness, and (e) the effect of attachment avoidance on marital expectations via trait mindfulness would differ depending on levels of attachment anxiety. Participants were 332 married women recruited via email invitation and social media to participate in a larger study on marriage. Participants completed an online survey that included an assortment of measures. Measures included in my study were the Marital Comparison Level Index (MCLI; Sabatelli, 1984), the Experiences in Close Relationships–Revised scale (ECR-R; Fraley et al., 2000), and the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire-Short Form (FFMQ-SF; Bohlmeijer et al., 2011). Results from primary multiple regression analyses revealed a direct negative effect of attachment avoidance on marital expectations (B = -0.335, p < .01, CI95 -0.579 to -0.114) as well as negative effects of attachment avoidance (B = -0.202, p < .001, CI95 -0.260 to -0.147) and attachment anxiety (B = -0.213, p < .001, CI95 -0.330 to -0.099) on trait mindfulness. Results from ancillary analyses revealed that attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance interacted to predict trait mindfulness facet, nonreactivity, at a level that approached significance (B = 0.061, p = .054). Results suggest that attachment avoidance may be particularly influential in perceiving actualized marital expectations. Further, attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety may differentially impact trait mindfulness as a unitary construct and by individual facets. Findings implicate clinical considerations tailored to married women experiencing interpersonal dissatisfaction as well as suggestions for future research.
Larson, Elizabeth, "Attachment, Trait Mindfulness, and Expectations in Married Women: A Moderated Mediation Model" (2021). Clinical Psychology Dissertations. 69.