Gratitude mediates the relationship between attachment avoidance and relationship satisfaction

Researchers have found one underlying mechanism that helps explain why attachment avoidance is negatively related to relationship satisfaction. Their findings, which were published in Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, suggests that gratitude towards one’s partner mediates the relationship between attachment avoidance and relationship satisfaction.

People can be secure or insecure in their attachments to their romantic partner, and insecure individuals can be either anxious or avoidant. Those with an “anxious” attachment style are fearful of rejection and abandonment, while people with an “avoidant” attachment style tend not to trust others and shun intimacy.

The researchers found that people with higher levels of attachment avoidance were more likely to agree with statements such as “When I look at my partner, I don’t see much to be grateful for,” and “Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to my partner.” These decreased feelings of gratitude, in turn, were associated with lower satisfaction with the romantic relationship.

The findings indicate that “appreciating one’s partner and being grateful toward one’s partner results in a more satisfying romantic relationship. Thus, the advice is: Focus on the positive aspects of your partner and your relationship and be grateful for that,” Vollmann told PsyPost.