A test of associations among generalized attachment, interpersonal competence, relational self-construal and happiness among undergraduates



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The present study examined the associations between generalized attachment (orientations toward interactions with others) and personal happiness. In addition, it assessed whether these associations were mediated by interpersonal competence domains (initiation, self-disclosure, support provision, negative assertion, conflict management), and relational self-construal. A sample of 1209 undergraduates at a southwestern university participated in the study. Respondents completed an anonymous online questionnaire packet which contained a measure of generalized attachment style, Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire, Relational-Interdependent Self-Construal Scale and Subjective Happiness Scale. A factor analysis of the attachment measure revealed only two attachment dimensions (avoidance, anxious-ambivalence). For each dimension, regression analysis indicated that the attachment-happiness associations were partially mediated by competence and construal. Two elements of competence (initiation, conflict) emerged as unique predictors of happiness, even in the context of each insecure attachment dimension. Discussion of the findings and directions for future research are offered.



Attachment, Interpersonal competence, Relational self-construal, Happiness, Young adults