Attachment, self-disclosure, gossip, and idealization as predictors of satisfaction in geographically close and long distance romantic relationships
This study examines geographically close (GCRs) and long distance (LDRs) romantic relationships, and the contribution of attachment style, self-disclosure, gossip, and idealization to explaining romantic relationship satisfaction, for each relational type. Therefore, the overarching hypothesis was that that the GCR and LDR explanatory models would be non-equivalent. The sub-hypotheses were: First, higher attachment security will predict (a) higher self-disclosure, (b)lower GCR and higher LDR gossip, (c) lower idealization, and (d) higher satisfaction. Second, higher gossip and lower self-disclosure will predict higher idealization. Third, lower GCR and higher LDR idealization will predict higher satisfaction. Thus, I expected GCR and LDR satisfaction to be mediated differently by gossip, self-disclosure, and idealization. College student participants (N = 539) completed a web survey. The instruments, widely used in research, included: (a) demographic information; (b) the Experience in Close Relationship Scale-Short Form (ECR-S; Wei, Russell, Mallinckrodt, & Vogel, 2007); (c) the Tendency to Gossip Questionnaire (TGQ, Nevo et al., 1993); (d) the self-disclosure scale, designed for this study; (e) the Idealistic Distortion Scale (IDS; Olson, 2005); and (f) the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS; Spanier, 1976). A Structural Equation Modeling multigroup analysis was used to test the hypotheses. The hypotheses were mostly supported. First, the results indicated that higher attachment security was significantly associated with (a) higher GCR and LDR self-disclosure, (b) lower LDR gossip, (c) higher GCR and LDR idealization, and (d) higher GCR and LDR relationship satisfaction. Second, lower GCR and higher LDR self-disclosure were associated with higher idealization, with gossip not significantly associated with idealization. Third, higher GCR and LDR idealization were associated with higher relationship satisfaction. As for the overarching hypothesis, the results indicated that the GCR and LDR models were non-equivalent, as expected; relationship satisfaction was mediated differently in GCRs than LDRs. In summary, the results imply that (a) attachment is a strong predictor of relationship satisfaction regardless of a couple's geographic distance, and (b) how couples communicate with each other is more important in LDR relational type. I also discuss implications, limitations, and areas for future research.
Pistole, Purdue University.
Social psychology|Counseling Psychology
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