Academic Scholarship

Predictors of satisfaction in geographically close and long-distance relationships.

Journal of Counseling Psychology. 59, 303-313. doi: 10.1037/a0027563, April 2012

Photo Needed Ji-Yeon Lee, Ph.D.
Dept of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy
M C Pistole

In this study, the authors examined geographically close (GCRs) and long-distance (LDRs) romantic relationship satisfaction as explained by insecure attachment, self-disclosure, gossip, and idealization. After college student participants (N=536) completed a Web survey, structural equation modeling (SEM) multigroup analysis revealed that the GCR and LDR models were nonequivalent, as expected. Self-disclosure mediated the insecure attachment-idealization path differently in GCRs and in LDRs. Self-disclosure was positively associated with idealization in GCRs and negatively associated with idealization in LDRs, with the insecure attachment-idealization and the insecure attachment-satisfaction paths negative for both GCRs and LDRs. Furthermore, the insecure attachment-idealization path was stronger than the mediated path, especially for LDRs; the insecure attachment-satisfaction path was stronger than the mediation model for GCRs and LDRs. In other words, the GCR and LDR models differed despite some similarities. For both, with higher insecure (i.e., anxious and avoidant) attachment, the person discloses less to the partner, idealizes the partner less, and is less satisfied with the relationship. Also, people who idealize are more satisfied. In contrast, in LDRs only, with higher insecure attachment, the people tend to gossip more. With higher insecure attachment and with higher selfdisclosure, people idealize more in GCRs but idealize less in LDRs. Overall, attachment insecurity explained more idealization and satisfaction in LDRs than in GCRs. Implications are discussed.


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