A recent set of studies demonstrated that people evaluate their own and their partner's social skills differently as a function of attachment style. The present study extends this work by examining attachment-style differences in four conversational skills—expressiveness, composure, other-orientation, and interaction management—as rated by observers. To test for attachment-style differences, romantic couples were videotaped as they discussed relational problems or conflict issues. Based on a pretest, one of the romantic partners was targeted as representative of the secure, dismissive, fearful avoidant, or preoccupied attachment style. Two dimensions related to attachment—anxiety and avoidance—were also investigated in regard to their relations with conversational skills. Results suggest that the behavioral profiles largely reflect attachment theoretical assumptions for secures, dismissives, and fearful avoidants, and to a lesser extent, preoccupieds.
- Communication Competence
- Conversational Skill