Internal working models of relationships and marital communication

Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, Joyce Fey, Chris Segrin, Janet L. Schiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Two studies were conducted to examine marital schemata, attachment relations, and marital communication. The first study involved 162 couples who completed questionnaires concerning dimensions of importance in their marriage, their attachment patterns, and communication patterns during conflict. The second study consisted of in-depth interviews of 18 individuals concerning their memories of early family life and concurrent relational functioning. It was hypothesized that partners who shared the same marital schema would also have similar attachment patterns. This hypothesis was not supported by the data. It was also predicted that couples in different types of marriages would report different patterns of communication during conflict. This hypothesis was strongly supported. Finally, it was predicted that the Separate marital types would have a less secure attachment style than either the Traditional or the Independent marital types because they exhibit less interdependence with their spouses and are more likely to avoid conflict with them. Both Separates and Independents had an avoidant attachment style. Traditionals had the most secure attachment style. The interview data indicated that Traditionals were preoccupied with their relationships, whereas Independents were somewhat dismissive. Directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-131
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
StatePublished - Mar 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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