Anxiety in Couple Relationships: the Pursuer-Distancer Dynamic in a Heterosexual Married Couple and its Interaction with Interpersonal Functioning of the Relationship
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This case study of a heterosexual couple is given in order to examine, in detail, the dynamics of a pursuer-distancer dynamic and how this affects the modulation of anxiety in the individuals and in the relationship. Research to date has posited that couple dynamics are closely linked to management of anxiety, and large-sample studies support this research. Missing from the literature is an in-depth, case-level study of how particular current couple relationships dynamics interact with patterns found in each person’s family of origin. In this study, one case is reviewed in depth using family and individual histories, a questionnaire, an interview, and an integration with the theoretical literature. Due to the limited scope of this study, the data collection is restricted to a questionnaire and a single structured interview. A comparison is made between the general expectations of a couple displaying this interactive pattern derived from the literature to the case specifics of this study. A close match is found with theoretical expectations, particularly in the area of gender differences and attachment history.