When one's partner wants out: Awareness, attachment anxiety and accuracy

Kenneth Tan, Laura V. Machia, Christopher R. Agnew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Can a person tell whether their romantic partner wants to break up and, if so, how is such accuracy associated with their own attachment anxiety? We examined these questions by proposing and assessing the construct of perceived partner dissolution consideration (PPDC), including its validity. We then assessed the extent to which partners were accurate in their perceptions of each other's dissolution consideration, focusing on the perceiver's attachment anxiety as a potential moderator. Specifically, in two studies involving couples, dyadic analyses of couple data showed that couple members significantly underestimated (negative mean-level bias) partner dissolution consideration and also projected their own dissolution consideration onto their partners. Couple members higher in anxiety were particularly accurate (tracking accuracy) in their assessments of dissolution consideration. Implications for partner perceptions and judgements of dissolution consideration on relationship functioning are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1204-1215
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • attachment anxiety
  • close relationships
  • perceived dissolution consideration
  • relationship dissolution
  • truth and bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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