Power Strategies in Intimate Relationships: An Attachment Perspective

Oakes, Candice (2014). Power Strategies in Intimate Relationships: An Attachment Perspective Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Oakes, Candice
Thesis Title Power Strategies in Intimate Relationships: An Attachment Perspective
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Judith Feeney
Total pages 121
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Given its impact on relationship processes and outcomes, power is a key variable to consider when studying decision-making in couple relationships. People commonly try to influence their partner in both daily and conflict situations, through the use of various power strategies. Attachment theory provides a valuable perspective on these processes, as the attachment system is activated during disputes. Therefore, this study examined the associations between attachment security (attachment anxiety and avoidance) and the reported use of power strategies, including the possible moderating role of perceived relational power and relationship quality. An online survey was completed by 123 participants currently involved in relationships of at least four months duration. Personality dimensions were measured as control variables. Multiple-item scales assessed the degree to which participants reported utilising each of four types of power strategies: negative-direct, negative-indirect, positivedirect, and positive-indirect. A supplementary measure was also employed whereby openended responses to a stimulus question were categorised into one of these four power strategies. Using the multiple-item scales, no link emerged between attachment and the use of negative-direct power strategies. However, attachment anxiety was positively associated with the use of negative-indirect power strategies; this association remained marginally significant when personality was controlled. Attachment avoidance was negatively associated with the use of positive power strategies (both direct and indirect), even controlling for personality. The associations between attachment anxiety and negative power strategies (both direct and indirect) were stronger at low levels of perceived relational power. Responses to the openended measure also revealed a significant association between attachment anxiety and reported power strategies. Overall, the findings suggest some attachment-related differences in the use of power strategies, but design limitations should be addressed to further investigate this link. Directions for future research also include examining the role of the social desirability bias and severity of conflict in these associations, and collecting dyadic data.
Keyword power
intimate relationships

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Created: Mon, 27 Apr 2015, 13:40:29 EST by Anita Whybrow on behalf of School of Psychology