Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Helen C. Harton


Couples--Psychology; College students--Psychology; Help-seeking behavior; Problem solving--Psychological aspects;


This study examined the individual characteristics that affect one’s willingness and ability to resolve problems in romantic relationships and one’s decision to seek support from a romantic partner. One hundred twenty-six college students in romantic relationships completed measures of attachment style, relationship efficacy, partner attributions, and relationship satisfaction, and responded to hypothetical scenarios assessing their problem-solving and support-seeking behaviors. Participants reporting higher attachment ambivalence were more perceptive than others to threats to their relationships and exhibited a greater effort to reduce conflict, although they reported lower levels of confidence in their problemsolving abilities. People reporting higher avoidance anticipated placing greater demands on their partners to resolve problems. Participants reporting greater attachment security exhibited higher confidence in resolving conflict and greater relationship satisfaction. Relationship efficacy mediated the relationship between partner attributions and relationship satisfaction. Results have implications for understanding the roles of attachment style, relationship efficacy, and partner attributions in conflict resolution, as well as for understanding how couples seek support when problem solving. Implications for couple’s therapists are also discussed, particularly for understanding how differences in conceptions of relationships may result in differences in conflict and support-seeking behaviors, and for understanding that there may not be one ideal conflict style for couples.

Year of Submission



Department of Psychology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

48 p.



File Format