Examination of a Causal Model of Family-of-Origin's Health, Attachment Styles, and Marital Commitment with the Mediating Role of Self- Differentiation

Document Type: Original Article


Department of psychology, Faculty of literature and humanities, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran



Introduction: The aim of the current study was to investigate the mediating role of self-differentiation between family-of-origin health and attachment styles with marital commitment.
Method: The present study was a descriptive correlational research. The population included all couples from the city of Kerman. A sample of 223 married people was selected through convenience sampling method. The data was collected through Dimensions of Commitment Inventory (DCI), Family of Origin al Scale (FOS), Differentiation of Self Inventory (DSI), and Adult Attachment Scale (AAS). To analyze data, structural regression was used as one of the Structural Equation Modeling (SEM).
Result: The results of this study showed that the family-of-origin health and attachment styles can only predict marital commitment via the mediating role of self-differentiation. In other words, the variable of self-differentiation, between the family-of-origin health and attachment styles with marital commitment plays a full mediator role.
Conclusion: Although changing some basic characteristics such as family-of-origin and attachment styles is difficult, marital commitment can enhance via enhancing of self-differentiation.


1. Carroll JS, Badger S, Yang C. The ability to negotiate or the ability to
love? Evaluating the developmental domains of marital competence.
Journal of Family Issues. 2006;27(7):1001-32.
2. Adams JM, Jones WH. The conceptualization of marital commitment:
An integrative analysis. Journal of personality and social
psychology. 1997;72(5):1177
3. Surra CA, Hughes DK. Commitment processes in accounts of the
development of premarital relationships. Journal of Marriage and
the Family. 1997;1:5-21.
4. Stanley SM, Rhoades GK, Whitton SW. Commitment: Functions,
formation, and the securing of romantic attachment. Journal of
Toghroli Pour Grighani et al.
95 Int J Behav Sci Vol.12, No.3, Autumn 2018
family theory & review. 2010;2(4):243-57.
5. Stanley SM, Rhoades GK, Whitton SW. Commitment: Functions,
formation, and the securing of romantic attachment. Journal of
family theory & review. 2010;2(4):243-57.
6. Amato PR, DeBoer DD. The transmission of marital instability across
generations: Relationship skills or commitment to marriage? Journal
of Marriage and Family. 2001;63(4):1038-51.
7. Weigel DJ, Bennett KK, Ballard–Reisch DS. Family influences on
commitment: Examining the family of origin correlates of
relationship commitment attitudes. Personal Relationships.
8. Whitton SW, Rhoades GK, Stanley SM, Markman HJ. Effects of
parental divorce on marital commitment and confidence. Journal of
Family Psychology. 2008;22(5):789.
9. Crittenden PM. Toward an integrative theory of trauma: A dynamicmaturation
approach. InRochester symposium on developmental
psychopathology 1997 (Vol. 8, pp. 33-84). University of Rochester
10. Sabatelli RM, Bartle‐ Haring S. Family‐ of‐ origin experiences and
adjustment in married couples. Journal of Marriage and Family.
11. Cui M, Fincham FD. The differential effects of parental divorce and
marital conflict on young adult romantic relationships. Personal
Relationships. 2010;17(3):331-43.
12. Selcuk E, Zayas V, Hazan C. Beyond satisfaction: The role of
attachment in marital functioning. Journal of Family Theory &
Review. 2010;2(4):258-79.
13. Hollist CS, Miller RB. Perceptions of attachment style and marital
quality in midlife marriage. Family Relations. 2005;54(1):46-57.
14. Gallo LC, Smith TW. Attachment style in marriage: Adjustment and
responses to interaction. Journal of Social and Personal
Relationships. 2001;18(2):263-89.
15. Mikulincer M, Florian V, Cowan PA, Cowan CP. Attachment
security in couple relationships: A systemic model and its
implications for family dynamics. Family process. 2002;41(3):405-
16. Knerr M, Bartle‐ Haring S. Differentiation, perceived stress and
therapeutic alliance as key factors in the early stage of couple
therapy. Journal of Family Therapy. 2010;32(2):94-118.
17. Lampis J. Does partners’ differentiation of self predict dyadic
adjustment?. Journal of Family Therapy. 2016;38(3):303-18.
18. Aryamanesh S, Fallahchai R, Zarei E, Haghighi H. Comparison of
differentiation among satisfying couples and conflicting couples in
Bandar Abbas city. Journal of Life Science and Biomedicine.
19. Schwartz JP, Thigpen SE, Montgomery JK. Examination of parenting
styles of processing emotions and differentiation of self. The Family
Journal. 2006;14(1):41-8.
20. Kline RB. Principles and practice of structural Equation modeling:
Guilford publications; 2011.
21. Adams, J. M. & Joens, W. H. (1997). The conceptualization of marital
commitment: an integrative analysis. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 72(5), 1177-1196.
22. Shah syah M, Bahrami F, Mohebbi S. Study of relationship between
sexual satisfaction and marital commitment in couples of Shahreza
city. 2008; 11(43), 233-238.
23. Hovestadt AJ, Anderson WT, Piercy FP, Cochran SW, Fine M. A
family‐ of‐ origin scale. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.
24. Hemming ME, Blackmer V, Searight HR. The Family-of-Origin
Scale: A psychometric review and factor analytic study.
International Journal of Psychological Studies. 2012 ;4(3):34.
25. Karami A. Examine the navigation and psychometric properties of
health of the family of origin scale. Research consulting. 2009; 10
(38), 103-118.
26. Skowron EA, Friedlander ML. The Differentiation of Self Inventory:
Development and initial validation. Journal of counseling
psychology. 1998;45(3):235.
27. Sharifi H, Manavipour D, Askari F. Psychometric properties of the
differentiation of self inventory. Journal of Industrial/Organization
Psychology. 2014; 5(18), 9-22.
28. Hazen C, Shaver P. Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment
process. Journal of personality and social psychology.
29. Collins NL. Read SJ. Adult attachment, working models and
relationship quality in dating couples. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology. 1990; 58, 644-663.
30. Rahimian E. Nouri A. Arizi H. Molavi H. Forooghi Mobarakeh A.
Relationship between Adult Attachment Styles and Satisfaction and
Job Stress in Nurses. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Psychology.
2008; 13(2), 148-157.
31. Muthén Linda K, Muthén Bengt O. Mplus user’s guide. Muthén and
Muthén: Los Angeles, CA, USA. 2007.
32. Browne MW, Cudeck R. Alternative ways of assessing model fit.
Sage focus editions. 1993;154:136-162.
33. Hu LT, Bentler PM. Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance
structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives.
Structural equation modeling: a multidisciplinary journal.
34. Hu LT, Bentler PM. Fit indices in covariance structure modeling:
Sensitivity to underparameterized model misspecification.
Psychological methods. 1998;3(4):424-53.
35. Spencer B, Brown J. Fusion or internalized homophobia? A pilot
study of Bowen's differentiation of self hypothesis with lesbian
couples. Family Process. 2007;46(2):257-68.
36. Priest JB. Examining differentiation of self as a mediator in the
Biobehavioral Family Model. Journal of marital and family therapy.
37. Hardy NR, Soloski KL, Ratcliffe GC, Anderson JR, Willoughby BJ.
Associations Between Family of origin Climate, Relationship Self‐
Regulation, and Marital Outcomes. Journal of marital and family
therapy. 2015;41(4):508-21.
38. Halford WK, Lizzio A, Wilson KL, Occhipinti S. Does working at
your marriage help? Couple relationship self-regulation and
satisfaction in the first 4 years of marriage. Journal of family
psychology. 2007;21(2):185.
39. Theodoratou-Bekou M, Andreopoulou O, Andriopoulou P, Wood B.
Stress-related asthma and family therapy: Case study. Annals of
general psychiatry. 2012;11(1):28.
40. Priest JB, Woods SB, Maier CA, Parker EO, Benoit JA, Roush TR.
The biobehavioral family model: close relationships and allostatic
load. Social Science & Medicine. 2015;142:232-40.
41. Novak JR, Smith HM, Larson JH, Crane DR. Commitment,
Forgiveness, and Relationship Self‐ Regulation: An Actor Partner
Interdependence Model of Relationship Virtues and Relationship
Effort in Couple Relationships. Journal of marital and family
therapy. 2018;44(2):353-65.
42. Hill EW, Hasty C, Moore CJ. Differentiation of self and the process
of forgiveness: A clinical perspective for couple and family therapy.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy.
43. Ellen Byrd S. The social construction of marital commitment. Journal
of marriage and family. 2009;71(2):318-36.
44. Klohnen EC, Bera S. Behavioral and experiential patterns of
avoidantly and securely attached women across adulthood: A 31-
year longitudinal perspective. Journal of personality and social
psychology. 1998;74(1):211.
45. Senchak M, Leonard KE. Attachment styles and marital adjustment
among newlywed couples. Journal of Social and Personal
Relationships. 1992;9(1):51-64.
46. Collins NL. Working models of attachment: Implications for
explanation, emotion, and behavior. Journal of personality and
social psychology. 1996;71(4):810.
47. Skowron EA. The role of differentiation of self in marital adjustment.
Journal of counseling Psychology. 2000;47(2):229.