Locus of control as a mediator between attachment and conflict resolution style: Singaporeans and Australians compared

Researcher Wong Wai See (Jane)

Supervisors Associate Professor Pia Broderick

Date: Completed 2011

Project Number: 2011/096


This study examines:
Romantic attachment - how individuals are attached to their romantic partners with regards to 2 underlying dimensions of anxiety and avoidance
Romantic locus of control - what individuals perceive to be the cause of the romantic outcomes in their life; internal where they are the cause or external where other things not within their control is the cause
Romantic conflict resolution styles - How individuals resolve conflicts in their romantic relationship
These 3 factors are examined in individuals and compared between Australians and Singaporeans. The role of romantic locus of control as a mediator between romantic attachment and romantic conflict resolution style is also explored and a comparison was made between Australians and Singaporeans.


There were 148 participants (67 Australians and 81 Singaporeans) in this study who responded through an online self-report survey. The self-report survey consisted of 3 different measures that were previously established; these were The Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised questionnaire (ECR-R), Miller Marital Locus of Control Scale (MMLOC) and The Romantic Partner Conflict Scale (RPCS).


Difference on measures between Australians and Singaporeans
Australians and Singaporeans were similar in their attachment rating of anxiety and avoidance. There was no significant difference between Australians and Singaporeans in romantic locus of control. Singaporeans used separation significantly more than Australians; there was no significant difference for the remaining conflict resolution styles.
Difference between Australians and Singaporeans in how locus of control mediated the relationship between romantic attachment and romantic conflict resolution style
Locus of control mediated Australian’s attachment anxiety and their use of compromise, domination, submission and interactional reactivity as conflict resolution strategies. For Singaporeans, locus of control mediated the how attachment anxiety and avoidance were related to submission as a conflict resolution strategy


Findings indicate that Singaporeans were mostly similar to Australians in how they were attached to their romantic partners, how they attributed the events in their romantic relationship and how they resolved their romantic conflict, however the difference in mediation suggests that there may be some underlying differences between the dynamics of romantic relationships between Australians and Singaporeans. This study has attributed the results to Singapore’s unique cultural history that encompasses a distinctive mix between east and west.

Finally this study is the first of its kind and more research would have to be done to better understand the profound role that culture has played in romantic relationships.