Emotional dependency and dysfunctional relationship beliefs as predictors of relationship satisfaction
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CitationÇetinkaya Yıldız, E., Kemer, G., & Bulgan, G. (2015). Emotional dependency and dysfunctional relationship beliefs as predictors of relationship satisfaction. International Association for Counseling Conference, September 3-6, Verona, Italy.
For many years now social scientist study the factors effecting relationship satisfaction in order to understand how some of the love relationships continue over the years while others cannot. As stated by many philosophers love is, one way or another, very close to mental illness. Undeniably, love theories/typologies accept at least one feature or mechanism that might be described as ‘psychopathological’ and characterized by obsession, irrational idealization, emotional instability or emotional dependency (Tallis, 2005). Remember mania (Lee, 1973), limerence (Tennov, 1979) and infatuation (Sternberg, 1986). Romantic relationships either dating or marriage satisfy our deepest affiliative needs and are also the source of our emotional dependency. Likewise, dysfunctional relationship beliefs (i.e., interpersonal rejection, unrealistic relationship expectation, and interpersonal misperception) are found to be positively correlated to dyadic adjustment and marital satisfaction (i.e., Stackert & Bursik, 2003; Sullivan and Schwebel, 1995) and also negatively correlated to marital distress (i.e., Addis & Bernard, 2002). Cognitive Theory postulates that the endorsement of certain irrational expectations about what makes relationships functional and healthy strongly affects an individual’s ability to adjust within a relationship. In the present study, we aimed at examining the role of emotional dependency and dysfunctional relationship beliefs in predicting married Turkish individuals’ relationship quality. Therefore, our overarching research question was, when gender and marriage duration is controlled, what are the roles of emotional dependency and interpersonal cognitive distortions, namely, interpersonal rejection, unrealistic relationship expectations, and interpersonal misperceptions, in predicting married Turkish individuals’ relationship quality? Participants of the present study were 203 female (%52.9) and 181 male (47.1) married Turkish individuals with an age range of 21 to 73 years (M = 35.98, SD = 8.00). The average length of marriage among the participants was 10.09 years (SD =8.24). Approximately %86 of the participants had college degrees whereas %14 reported graduate degrees. We used convenient sampling method to recruit the participants from urban cities of Turkey. In order to collect data a demographic information form, Relationship Assessment Scale, Emotional Dependency Scale, and Interpersonal Cognitive Distortions Scale were administered. The hierarchical regression analysis results revealed that, after controlling the effects of gender and length of marriage, multiple correlation coefficient between the linear combination of emotional dependency, interpersonal rejection, unrealistic relationship expectation, and interpersonal misperception, and relationship quality elevated to .64. Model 2 was also significant [F(4,373) = 60.79, p<.001, R2 = .407] and four predictors together accounted for 39% of the variance in relationship quality. In this model, emotional dependency uniquely explained a big part of the variance (30%) in relationship quality with a significant positive contribution [t(373) = 13.73, p < .001, ß = .56]. Interpersonal rejection, on the other hand, explained 7.5% of the variance and had a significant negative contribution to the relationship quality [t(373) = -.5.49, p > .001, ß = -.23]. Similarly, unrealistic relationship expectations accounted for 2.8% of the variance and was negatively associated to participants’ relationship quality [t(373) = -3.29, p = .001, ß = -.14]. Nevertheless, the contribution of the interpersonal misperception to the relationship quality was not significant [t(373) = 1.34, p > .05].The results will be discussed in the light of current literature as well as cultural relevance, and implications for future research and practice will be provided.