By Amanda Ng ’17
Past research has been consistent in acknowledging the importance of open communication in relationships. However, it is often debated whether self-expression must be authentic to benefit the relationship, or whether a perception of authenticity is enough. Research in this field has shown that authenticity is positively linked with attachment security and caregiving responsiveness. However, this work has depended largely on an undergraduate North American sample, and as a result, has left a gap in the literature in terms of generalizability.
To bridge this gap, researchers at the University of Porto conducted a study involving 400 Portuguese participants (200 men, 200 women) in long-term relationships. The researchers administered three questionnaires: The AIRS (Authenticity in Relationships Scale), RAQ (Romantic Attachment Questionnaire–Brief version), and CGQ (Caregiving Questionnaire). The AIRS assesses an individuals’ perception of their partner’s honesty, the RAQ measures attachment to one’s partner, and the CGQ assesses the different dimensions of responsive caregiving (ex: physical, emotional, etc.).
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers’ findings remained consistent with previous research and found that true authenticity predicted more responsive caregiving (r (6) = 0.81, p < .001) and attachment security (r (6) = 0.83, p < .001), rather than just the perception of authenticity.
This study has contributed to the field by extending the results of previous research to long-term adult relationships in a new demographic sample. Future research can use this data as a baseline in order to implement this theory into couples’ therapy and research relationships in other countries to confirm the cultural magnitude of the correlation.
- T. Gouveia, M. Schulz, M. Costa. Authenticity in Relationships: Predicting Caregiving and Attachment in Adult Romantic Relationships. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63, 736-744 (2016). Doi: 10.1037/cou0000128.
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