Rimma R. Roge
Skyline High School
February 23, 2015
A broad variety of factors affect romantic couple’s levels of satisfaction and relational stability. Relationships often bring together conflicting personalities, differing childhood experiences, and varying attachment styles. The individual differences between romantic partners frequently leads to short term argument and long term conflict. Many psychological professionals have focused on the severity of conflict and how it relates to romantic satisfaction. However, many of these researchers and academics ignore the complex factors which contribute to relational well being. A holistic approach must be employed when studying the quality and stability of romantic relationships. The focus of this study will be how personality, childhood experiences and/or trauma, attachment styles, and communication contributes to or prevents relational conflict.
Researchers around the world have studied the association between relational well being and conflict. Psychological and medical professionals agree that both minor and major issues of conflict have a negative correlation with relational satisfaction (Cramer, 2002); however, scholars disagree on which of these factors contribute most to these issues. A holistic approach must be employed when studying the sources of romantic satisfaction and/or dissatisfaction. Personality, childhood development, and attachment stylization all affect a couple’s level of satisfaction in a romantic relationship. Childhood development has been shown to significantly affect the attachment styles of adults in romantic partnerships (Monteoliva, Adelaida & J. Miguel García-Martínez, 2005). Kazan and Shaver argue these childhood attachment styles manifest themselves in different forms of loving relationships (1987). According to Bartholomew and Horowitz (1991), there are four different types of attachment styles evident in romantic relationships: secure, preoccupied, avoidant-dismissive, and avoidant-fearful. Monteoliva, Adelaida & J. Miguel García-Martínez conducted a study at a Spanish university in which they selected a sample of eight hundred and ninety-one students (2005). The researchers distributed a questionnaire in which students of differing attachment styles could rate their levels of relational stability, breakup anxiety, intimacy and commitment. Secure and preoccupied participants had significantly higher levels of relational satisfaction and self assurance than both of the avoidant groups (Monteoliva, et al., 2005). The study demonstrates the importance of childhood experiences as they relate to attachment development. The formation of these styles leads to a significantly diversified set of adult relational experiences.
Personality was another factor which fundamentally altered the nature of romantic relationship. Sharma and Raju examined the association between aggressive/hostile behavior and relational satisfaction (2013). They sampled 110 males and females to show this correlation. The results of the study demonstrated secure participants were far less likely to engage in a hostile and aggressive acts, whereas individuals with lower self esteem were exactly the opposite. Individuals with very low self confidence constituted 47.3% of all participants; they were the most likely to stay in a long-term abusive relationship with multiple partners. Participants with low self confidence also exhibited jealousy, mistrust, and unhealthy codependence on their current partner (Werner 1999). Gender played an important role in expression of relational aggression. Females were far less likely to report abuse than males. Low agreeableness, low extraversion, and neuroticism was why men showed higher physical aggression. In women, low conscientiousness showed higher relational aggression. Individuals who had little to no sexual