Date of Award

12-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Deborah P. Welsh

Committee Members

Todd Moore, Robert G. Wahler

Abstract

The purpose of the current study is to examine the influence of relational views on adolescents' subjective understanding of interactions in the context of their romantic relationships. Relational view is an attachment system construct comprised of three specific measures of attachment: attachment style, rejection sensitivity and self-silencing. To examine the influence of relational views on individual's subjective understanding, we are employing an innovative multimodal methodology: The video-recall system (Welsh & dickson, 2005). This system assesses adolescent participants' subjective understanding of their feelings and behaviors during a video-taped interaction with their romantic partner as well as trained observers' interpretations of the interaction. In order to isolate the pathway between relational views and the interpretation of the interaction, we control for the observer coding which provides a more objective and consistent interpretation of the interaction. This study is unique in our inclusion of both adolescent participants' perspectives of their interactions with their romantic partner as well as the perspectives of trained coders, 209 adolescent couple's were examine who completed the video-recall procedure as well as a series of questionnaires. We examine two outcomes: Power and Negative Affect.

Our hypothesis that adolescents who hold more vulnerable relational views will interpret their interactions more negatively was supported. Structual Equation Modeling in AMOS, which allowed for the use of latent variables, indicated that relational views directly influence interpretations of Power and Negative Affect in adolescents above and beyone what was expected based on the observers' ratings. This finding has important implications because it supports the tenets of general attachment theory in that it shows that attachment not only influences the behaviors in an interaction but also the way those behaviors are interpreted. Possible explanations for the influence of relational views and their implications are discussed in further depth.

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