The current research was based on the proposition that mental models of attachment influence the way in which individuals view themselves and relate to others. Further, it. was proposed that disclosure is at the very centre of interpersonal communication and as such, is a crucial process contributing to the development, maintenance, and functioning of intimate relationships. Based on these propositions, a series of studies were conducted. These studies were designed to (a) investigate interrelations and differences between measures of adult attachment security; (b) replicate and extend the small number of existing studies that have examined disclosure from the perspective of attachment theory; (c) examine associations between individuals' attachment security and various aspects of their disclosure; (d) examine how attachment and disclosure combine to influence attitudes about relationships (e.g., trust, risk in intimacy, vulnerability),
relationship satisfaction, and relationship commitment; (e) investigate 'actor' and 'partner' effects of attachment on patterns of disclosure; and (f) using case studies, investigate from the perspective of attachment and dialectic contradictions how partners manage individual and relationship needs. The project had a number of important features. First, it used a multimethod approach to investigate the focal variables of attachment, disclosure, and relationship functioning. The methodologies included standardised self-report questionnaires, experimental techniques for investigating specific types of disclosure (i.e., initiated and reciprocated disclosure), use of 'insider' (partners' perceptions and interpretations) and 'outsider' (behavioural observation) assessments of 'naturalistic' couple interactions, experience-sampling techniques (structured diaries) to assess everyday social interactions between partners, and case studies. Second, the research distinguished between
different types of disclosure (something previous empirical research has not typically done). Third, links between individuals' and partners' attachment, and dispositional and diary-based measures of both own and partner's disclosure, were comprehensively investigated. The present research also contributed to the small body of literature that looks specifically at the links among attachment, disclosure, and relationship functioning in premarital relationships. Overall, the research pointed to a number of key findings. First, there were significant differences in predictive power between different measures of attachment security. Second, there were important associations among attachment, disclosure, and relationship functioning that emerged from the multiple methods. Third, the studies provided evidence that disclosure is a complex, multidimensional relationship process essential for negotiating intimacy and shaping evaluations of relationship functioning. These findings are
discussed in terms of the goals and strategies associated with the different attachment orientations, together with implications for relationship researchers and clinicians who deal with relationship problems. In summary, the current research project addresses key questions and omissions that exist in the relationship literature. The present research extends knowledge of attachment processes, and clearly recognises the importance of disclosure as a pervasive and multidimensional relational process that is linked to attachment orientations and evaluations of relationship functioning.