Associations among relational maintenance behaviors, attachment-style categories, and attachment dimensions

Laura K. Guerrero, Guy F. Bachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Simon and Baxter (1993) demonstrated that secure individuals report using more assurances and romance to maintain their romantic relationships than do dismissive individuals. The present study extends Simon and Baxter's work by investigating a wider range of prosocial maintenance behaviors as well as two key dimensions underlying attachment style—anxiety and avoidance. Results from 189 couples who completed questionnaires showed that secure individuals reported using more assurances, romantic affection, and openness than did dismissive individuals. Fearful avoidant men also reported relatively low levels of prosocial maintenance behaviors, and preoccupied men and women reported relatively high levels of assurances, openness, and comfort/support. Respondents also reported using certain prosocial behaviors less when they had a preoccupied partner. In terms of attachment-style dimensions, respondents reported using less assurances when they were avoidant and their partner was anxious. One's own level of avoidance also associated negatively with romantic affection, openness, and social networking, whereas one's own level of anxiety associated negatively with task sharing, comfort/support, and social networking. Implications for future work on relational maintenance and attachment theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-361
Number of pages21
JournalCommunication Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Anxiety
  • Attachment
  • Avoidance
  • Maintenance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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