ASSESSMENT OF RESPIRATORY SINUS ARRHYTHMIA, RELATIONSHIP QUALITY, AND ADULT ATTACHMENT STYLE IN COLLEGE COUPLES
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIntroduction: Conflict resolution between romantic partners is dependent on the couple’s coping skills, communication skills, attachment styles, and demand-withdraw tendencies. Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) has been shown to be linked to an individual’s ability to self-regulate and may play a role in couple’s conflict resolution and relationship quality. Methods: Relationship variables such as Demand-Withdraw Communication (DWC), Experiences in Close Relationship Scale (ECRS), Relationship Assessment Scale (RAS), and WHOTO, as well as Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (RSA) were examined in fifty romantic couples, using data from an existing study. Correlations between ECRS and DWC, and between RAS and RSA were examined along with the role of RSA as a moderator of the effects of ECRS on relationship satisfaction. Additionally, couples were classified as secure-secure, insecure-insecure, or secure-insecure, based on their attachment style, and were compared on their relationship satisfaction and demand-withdraw behaviors. Results: There was a positive correlation between ECRS Anxiety and the participant’s self-reported demanding behaviors while they discussed their chosen topic of disagreement with their partner (r= .21, p< .05). RSA did not emerge as a moderator between ECRS avoidance or ECRS anxiety and RAS. Couples classified based on their attachment style did not significantly differ on measures of RAS or DWC. Conclusion: Consistent with the literature, the study provides support for the association between attachment anxiety and demand-withdraw behaviors. The association between RSA, relationship quality, and attachment style was not supported by the study which suggests potentially limited generalizability of previous findings to college age couples.