Attachment and relational satisfaction: The mediating effect of emotional communication

Laura Guerrero, Lisa Farinelli, Bree McEwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This study investigated associations among one partner's relational satisfaction and the other partner's style of attachment and emotional communication. Findings from a questionnaire study involving 581 couples showed that participants reported more relational satisfaction when their partners scored high in security and low in dismissiveness and preoccupation. These associations between one's relational satisfaction and the partner's attachment style were partially mediated by how the partner reported communicating emotions. Specifically, participants were less satisfied in relationships with preoccupied partners who reported expressing anger using destructive communication. Participants were less satisfied with dismissive partners who reported using detached emotional communication. Finally, participants were more satisfied with secure partners who reported using prosocial emotional communication. These findings suggest that the often-cited relationship between attachment and relational satisfaction is partially explained by emotional communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-514
Number of pages28
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009


  • Attachment
  • Emotion
  • Emotional communication
  • Relational satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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