Mutual influences in adult romantic attachment, religious coping, and marital adjustment

Sara E. Pollard, Shelley A. Riggs, Joshua N. Hook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In this study, we examined associations among romantic attachment anxiety and avoidance, positive and negative religious coping, and marital adjustment in a community sample of 81 heterosexual couples. Multilevel modeling (MLM) for the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM; Cook & Kenny, 2005) was used to analyze data from both spouses. Romantic attachment avoidance was associated with less positive religious coping, and romantic attachment anxiety was associated with more negative religious coping. Findings are discussed in light of Hall, Fujikawa, Halcrow, Hill, and Delaney's (2009) Implicit Internal Working Model Correspondence framework. We also found support for Sullivan's (2001) compensation model for attachment avoidance but not for attachment anxiety. That is, positive religious coping buffered the deleterious relationship between attachment avoidance and marital adjustment. However, positive religious coping did not attenuate the negative impact of attachment anxiety on marital adjustment and was associated with higher marital adjustment only for those individuals with low attachment anxiety. Surprisingly, negative religious coping reduced the negative impact of the partner's attachment anxiety on respondents' marital adjustment. Results suggest that attachment theory is one useful approach to conceptualizing religious coping, highlight the complexity of these associations, and point to future research directions. Findings also support the consideration of both attachment dimensions and religious coping in research and applied work with adults and couples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-624
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


  • Compensation
  • Correspondence
  • Marital adjustment
  • Religious coping
  • Romantic attachment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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