This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Assessment of Disharmony and Disaffection




German, Nicole

Type of Degree





Intimate relationship researchers’ need to accurately assess conflict resolution and emotional connection has driven the development of instruments measuring disharmony and disaffection, constructs that assess these respective processes. Research on existing measures provides a basis of empirical support for disharmony and disaffection, as well as their association with relationship distress; however, these measures lack a theoretical underpinning and evidence of construct validity. The current study empirically examines a theoretically-guided higher-order model of disharmony and disaffection within a sample of students at a large, Southeastern university. The hypothesized model of both constructs was largely supported. Notably, the retained model suggests that disharmony and disaffection share a cognitive component; specifically, each includes a factor indicative of the belief that one is misunderstood and criticized by one’s partner. Further, disharmony and disaffection independently contribute to lower positive relationship satisfaction, as well as higher negative relationship satisfaction. Overall, findings suggest that two distinct patterns of relationship function, each contributing to evaluations characterized by dissatisfaction.