Associations Between Family and Interpersonal Processes and Emerging Adult Marital Paradigms: Does Adult Attachment Mediate?

Todd M. Jensen
Brian J. Willoughby, Brigham Young University
Thomas B. Holman
Dean M. Busby
Kevin Shafer


Current research on predictors of marital attitudes highlights the importance of family and interpersonal processes, yet fails to identify which factors are more important and whether there are mediators that help to conceptually simplify the process by which such attitudes are influenced. We examine the influence of family-oforigin quality and past romantic relationships on three specific marital paradigms, as well as the mediating role adult attachment may play in these associations. We used a sample of 1,210 single heterosexual males (23 %) and females (77 %), age 18–30 years, who took the READY assessment. Results indicated that family-of-origin quality, attachment style, and past romantic relationships are all associated with emerging adult marital paradigms, with attachment avoidance having the most significant overall relationship with the outcomes. Results also indicated that adult attachment acts as a significant mediator between family/interpersonal processes and marital paradigm outcomes. Conclusions, limitations, and implications are discussed.