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Exploring the Relationship Between Hurtful Messages and Partner Attachment
Unformatted Document Text:  Hurt and Attachment 21 suggesting that both genders feel an equivalent amount of pain or distress when experiencing a HM. Length of relationship was also related to degree of hurt once accounting for the interdependence between partners. The longer couples were together, the less hurt they reported from the conflict. This makes intuitive sense as messages interpreted as hurtful may have a greater impact on the beginning of a relationship than on the later stages of a relationship. Yet, frequency of HMs did not vary by length of relationship indicating that the number of HMs is relatively similar across the span of relationships. Interestingly, commitment was not related to either frequency of HMs or the degree of hurt experienced. Limitations and Future Directions Though this study offers some interesting findings regarding the relationship between attachment style and HMs, several limitations should be noted. First, because couples were videotaped while re-enacting a conflict, a reactivity effect may have occurred influencing the typicality of their conflict behaviors. This may also be the reason that the majority of participants did not report being hurt by a specific message during the interaction. Related to this, the HMs literature typically focuses on the degree of hurt elicited from one particular event, whereas this analysis focused on the degree of hurt elicited from a 10-minute conflict episode. Though the reliability of the items assessing degree of hurt was high, degree of hurt regarding an entire interaction may be different than the degree of hurt elicited from one specific behavior. Thus, comparisons between the two should be made cautiously. Additionally, although 52 couples initially completed the attachment and HMs questionnaires, only 37 couples could be used in the analyses. Due to low power, interpretation of the models is more constrained. Indicators of model improvement, such as variance explained and deviance reduction, could not be utilized. However, the significance tests of the parameter

Authors: Dailey, Rene. and Le Poire, Beth.
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Hurt and Attachment 21
suggesting that both genders feel an equivalent amount of pain or distress when experiencing a
HM. Length of relationship was also related to degree of hurt once accounting for the
interdependence between partners. The longer couples were together, the less hurt they reported
from the conflict. This makes intuitive sense as messages interpreted as hurtful may have a
greater impact on the beginning of a relationship than on the later stages of a relationship. Yet,
frequency of HMs did not vary by length of relationship indicating that the number of HMs is
relatively similar across the span of relationships. Interestingly, commitment was not related to
either frequency of HMs or the degree of hurt experienced.
Limitations and Future Directions
Though this study offers some interesting findings regarding the relationship between
attachment style and HMs, several limitations should be noted. First, because couples were
videotaped while re-enacting a conflict, a reactivity effect may have occurred influencing the
typicality of their conflict behaviors. This may also be the reason that the majority of participants
did not report being hurt by a specific message during the interaction. Related to this, the HMs
literature typically focuses on the degree of hurt elicited from one particular event, whereas this
analysis focused on the degree of hurt elicited from a 10-minute conflict episode. Though the
reliability of the items assessing degree of hurt was high, degree of hurt regarding an entire
interaction may be different than the degree of hurt elicited from one specific behavior. Thus,
comparisons between the two should be made cautiously.
Additionally, although 52 couples initially completed the attachment and HMs
questionnaires, only 37 couples could be used in the analyses. Due to low power, interpretation
of the models is more constrained. Indicators of model improvement, such as variance explained
and deviance reduction, could not be utilized. However, the significance tests of the parameter


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