Influence of individual and interpersonal factors on satisfaction and stability in romantic relationships

Jacki Fitzpatrick, Donna L. Sollie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Guided by Bradbury and Fincham's (1988) contextual model, the current study examined the influence of distal factors that reflect orientations toward relationships (relationship standards, attachment motivation, autonomy motivation) and proximal factors that reflect patterns of interaction (self-disclosure, socioemotional behaviors, conflict tactics) on satisfaction in romantic relationships. Although we expected both types of factors would be associated with satisfaction, we hypothesized that the daily interactional patterns would mediate the relationship between the individual factors and satisfaction. At Time 1, individual factors and satisfaction were measured via questionnaire, and interpersonal factors were measured via a 2-week daily interaction record. The results indicated the individual factors of attachment motivation and autonomy motivation, and the interpersonal factors of self-disclosure and positive socioemotional behaviors were related to satisfaction. Regression analysis indicated the proximal factors partially mediated the relationship between the distal factors and satisfaction. At Time 2 (approximately 6 months later), slightly more than half of the original sample was contacted to assess respondents' relationship status; those respondents whose relationships were stable (continued over time) had significantly higher mean scores on attachment, positive behaviors, and self-disclosure at Time 1 than did respondents whose relationships had dissolved. Taken together, these results suggest that attachment and prosocial communications are central dimensions contributing to satisfaction and stability in dating relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-350
Number of pages14
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


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