Commitment and attachment dimensions: Contributions to adult attachment development

Jonathan E Mosko, Purdue University


This study examined the process model of adult attachment development by observing how investment model factors of relationship commitment, satisfaction, investment and alternatives influenced attachment development. In addition, this study also observed how attachment dimensions of anxiety and avoidance influenced attachment development. Young adult college students who were in romantic relationships (N = 399) completed the following measures: (a) the Attachment Phase Measure (APM), (b) the WHOTO (Fraley & Davis, 1997), (c) the Self-Perceived Mating Success Scale (SPMS; Lalumière & Quinsey, 1996), (d) a Limerence scale (Pim, 2003, as cited in Clark, 2006), (e) the Inventory of Desirable Responding in Relationships (IDRR; Loving & Agnew, 2001), (f) the Experiences in Close Relationships – Short form (ECR-S; Wei, Russell, Mallinckrodt, & Vogel, 2007), (g) the Investment Model Scale (IM; Rusbult, Martz, & Agnew, 1998), and (h) the Past and Planned Investments Measure (PPIM; Goodfriend & Agnew, 2008). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis tested the factor structure of the APM, an attachment development instrument that was designed for this study, and indicated that among models of comparable fit, the three-factor model was the most consistent with the theory. Hierarchical multiple regression tested the following hypotheses: (a) higher levels of commitment, satisfaction, investment, and anxiety will predict later phases of attachment development; (b) higher relationship alternatives and high attachment avoidance will negatively predict later phases of attachment development; (c) higher levels of satisfaction, planned tangible investments, planned intangible investments, and anxiety will predict earlier phases of attachment development; (d) higher attachment avoidance will negatively predict earlier phases of attachment development, and (e) high attachment anxiety and low attachment avoidance would predict intermediate phases of attachment development. Factor analysis results gave limited support for the construct validity of the three-factor APM scores. Regression results indicated that (a) relationship satisfaction, past intangible investments, and low avoidance predicted the later phases of attachment development; (b) high attachment anxiety and low attachment avoidance predicted middle phases of attachment development; and (c) high attachment anxiety, low attachment avoidance, satisfaction, planned intangible investments, and low planned tangible investments predicted the earlier phases of attachment development. These findings have implications for individual therapy, couples therapy, and psychoeducational outreach.




Pistole, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Clinical psychology|Individual & family studies

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