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Attachment insecurity and restrictive engulfment in college student relationships: the mediating role of relationship satisfaction

Toplu-Demirtas, Ezgi
Murray, Christine
Sümer, Zeynep
Purpose Studies on restrictive engulfment (RE) - a subtype of psychological aggression in intimate relationships - have focused either on insecure attachment or relationship satisfaction, not both. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate relationship satisfaction as a potential mediator of the associations between anxious and avoidant attachment and RE perpetration among college students. Design/methodology/approach A sample of 322 college students (178 women, 137 men, and seven other gender-identified) completed the experiences in close relationship inventory, relationship assessment scale, and RE subscale of the multidimensional measure of emotional abuse. Findings Among the sample, 89.3 and 90.5 percent of the college women and men, respectively, reported to have used isolating, restricting, monitoring, and controlling behaviors. The results of structural equation modeling revealed that all direct paths except for that from avoidant attachment to RE were significant. Moreover, significant indirect paths were identified from anxious and avoidant attachment to RE via relationship satisfaction.