Adult romantic attachment and sexual assertiveness: The mediating role of body dissatisfaction
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The two dimensions of insecure attachment (i.e., attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance) were shown to be negatively associated with sexual assertiveness in previous research. The present study examined the mediating role of body dissatisfaction in this association. Through a cross-sectional design, 195 participants (74.4% women, age range 36–82 years) in a romantic relationship completed an online survey measuring attachment avoidance and anxiety, body dissatisfaction, and sexual assertiveness. Regression and bootstrap analyses were used to analyze the data. The regression analysis showed significant negative total and direct effects of attachment avoidance, but not attachment anxiety, on sexual assertiveness. Additionally, in contrast with the hypothesis, the following bootstrap analyses showed a significant negative indirect effect of attachment avoidance, but not attachment anxiety, on sexual assertiveness through body dissatisfaction. As such, higher levels of attachment avoidance were associated with higher body dissatisfaction, which was subsequently related to lower sexual assertiveness. These results indicate that addressing body dissatisfaction of individuals with high attachment avoidance in couples’ therapy could improve their psychosocial functioning in relationships and improve therapy outcomes.
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