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To our knowledge, there has not been any research regarding the relationship between anxious attachment, silencing of the self, and relationship satisfaction. Over the years numerous studies have conducted experiments regarding anxious attachment and relationship satisfaction. Several have indicated anxious attachment is responsible for low felt security, which occurs when these individuals are insecure about losing acceptance from their partner (Joel, Macdonald, & Shimotomai 2011; Shaver, Schachner, & Mikulincer, 2005; Tucker & Anders, 1999). In fact, as a product of their high anxiety levels, anxiously attached individuals are more prone to emotional highs and lows, which can predict greater conflict severity and relationship dissatisfaction (Campbell, Simpson, Boldry, & Kashy, 2005). These characteristics of anxiously attached individuals can lead to silencing the self, the expectation of failure or rejection in a romantic relationship. In order to maintain a relationship without arguments, individuals have been found to stop expressing and forgetting their feelings of dissatisfaction (Whiffen, Foot, & Thompson, 2007). Individuals can strive to create stability in their relationship resulting in silencing of the self, which actually produces negative effects on relationship satisfaction (Jack & Dill, 1992). Based on the findings of the above-mentioned research, we predicted that silencing of the self would mediate the relationship between anxious attachment and relationship satisfaction. Participants (N=209; M= 110, F= 99) completed self-report questionnaires that measure silencing the self, insecure attachment, and relationship satisfaction. Results confirmed our hypothesis: silencing the self was found to mediate the relationship between level of insecure attachment and relationship satisfaction. Specifically, higher levels of insecure attachment were predictive of higher levels of silencing of the self, which, in turn, were predictive of lower levels of relationship satisfaction. Limitations, future directions, and implications of the study will be discussed.

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Independent Research

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Lee J. Dixon

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Stander Symposium poster

Anxious Attachment, Silencing the Self, and Relationship Satisfaction