The interactions between anti-patterns are claimed to affect maintenance. However, little work has been conducted to examine how anti-patterns interact. In this paper, we aim to investigate which pairs of anti-patterns tend to be coupled, i.e., interact with each other. We employ Fisher's exact test and Wilcoxon rank-sum test to identify coupled anti-patterns in the same class and coupled classes. Analyzing the relationships amongst 10 kinds of anti-patterns in five open-source projects, our results show that 1) several kinds of anti-patterns tend to be coupled, but some are conflicting, 2) the effect of anti-patterns on their dependent or co-changed ones are significant but small, 3) in ArgoUML, Xalan and Xerces-J, the classes infected with dependent anti-patterns are mostly (69.9% ~ 100%) modified in maintenance activities. Our findings offer empirical evidences for the existence of anti-pattern interactions, which provides valuable implications for practitioners and researchers.
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