Scott T. Wagoner, Adrianne C. Lewis



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One behavior used to sustain a relationship is self-sacrifice, and one’s willingness to sacrifice has been shown to be positively associated with relationship satisfaction (Van Lange et al., 1997). Depending on the motivations behind self-sacrifice, this practice can lead to improved or poorer couple functioning (Impett, Gable, & Peplau, 2005; Stanley, Whitton, Sadberry, Clements, & Markman, 2006). Those high in anxious attachment experience and express anger due to their fear of abandonment, whereas those high in avoidant attachment experience and express anger due to their avoidance of intimacy (Lafontaine & Lussier, 2005). The current study explored the possibility that level of anger would mediate the relationship between willingness to self-sacrifice and relationship satisfaction, and that the relationship between willingness to sacrifice and anger would be moderated by one’s level of anxious and avoidant attachment. Participants were 102 (46 male, 56 female) predominantly Caucasian students from a Midwestern University. Participants completed a scale developed by Van Lange et al. (1997) to assess willingness to self-sacrifice, the Relationship Assessment Scale (Hendrick, 1988) to assess relationship satisfaction, the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised questionnaire (Fraley, R. C., Waller, N. G., & Brennan, 2000) to assess adult attachment style, and the Arousal Subscale of the Multidimensional Anger Inventory (Siegel, 1986) to assess anger. Bootstrapping procedures described by Preacher and Hayes (2008) were used to test for moderated mediation. Results supported our hypotheses, indicating that, for those low in avoidant and anxious attachment, a greater willingness to sacrifice was negatively related to anger, which, in turn, was negatively related to relationship satisfaction. These results suggest that willingness to sacrifice for one’s partner, particularly when one’s attachment style is less insecure, positively predicts relationship satisfaction, and that this association is mediated by one’s level of anger. Limitations, future directions, and implications of the study will be discussed.

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Graduate Research

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Lee J. Dixon

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Effects of One's Attachment Style on Willingness and Reactions to Self-Sacrifice and Subsequent Relationship Satisfaction.