couple relationships, relationship attributions, family-of-origin


A large body of research has been devoted to the study of family-of-origin (FOO) experience influences on future relationship outcomes and processes. In addition, substantial information exists regarding the role relationship attributions play in connection with relationship quality and stability. Yet, limited information has been forthcoming regarding how the FOO experience has an influence on attributions made in romantic relationships. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was employed to assess the impact of the FOO experience on attributions made about one’s own communication and personality variables, as well as the communication and personality variables of one’s partner from a sample of individuals who had completed the RELATionship Evaluation (N = 6,649). Results show evidence of a relationship between the FOO experience and the attributions made about oneself and one’s partner. Results were particularly pronounced for the communication variables. Gender differences also were found. The utility of study findings for couple and family researchers and practitioners is discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Gardner, B. C., Busby, D. M., Burr, B. K., & Lyon, S. E. (2011). Getting to the roots of relationship attributions: Family-of-origin perspectives on self and partner views. Contemporary Family Therapy, 33, 253-272.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Contemporary Family Therapy




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor