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Birnie, C., McClure, M.J., Lydon, J.E. & Holmberg, D. (2009). Attachment Avoidance and Commitment Aversion: A Script for Relationship Failure. Personal Relationships, 16, 79-97.



Do avoidantly attached individuals, with fears of closeness and dependency, expect their relationships to fail? Moreover, do they expect specific events that will lead to failure? Canadian students outlined their expectations for a new romantic relationship by ordering a series of dating events using a card sorting procedure. Avoidance was associated with both expectations of relationship failure and commitment aversion (the absence of positive commitment-enhancing events and presence of negative commitment undermining events). Commitment aversion mediated the relationship between avoidance and expected failure, and a multiple mediation model showed unique paths for positive and negative events. This suggests that avoidantly attached individuals enter into new relationships with detailed scripts for commitment aversion that lead them to expect relationship failure.

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