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Journal ArticleDOI

Adult attachment, emotional control, and marital satisfaction

01 Jun 1999-Personal Relationships (Blackwell Publishing Ltd)-Vol. 6, Iss: 2, pp 169-185

Abstract: This study extends previous research into the relations among attachment style, emotional experience, and emotional control. Questionnaire measures of these variables were completed by a broad sample of 238 married couples. Continuous measures of attachment showed that insecure attachment (low Comfort with closeness; high Anxiety over relationships) was related to greater control of emotion, regardless of whether the emotion was partner-related or not. Insecure attachment was also associated with less frequent and intense positive emotion and with more frequent and intense negative emotion, although these links depended on context (partner-related or not), attachment dimension, and gender. Emotional control added to the prediction of marital satisfaction, after controlling for attachment dimensions; the most robust links with satisfaction were inverse relations with own control of positive emotion and with partner's control of negative emotion. The results are discussed in terms of attachment theory, affect regulation, and communication in marriage. Copyright
Topics: Attachment theory (62%)

Content maybe subject to copyright    Report

Personal
Relurionships,
6
(199Y), 169-185. Printed in the United States
of
America.
Copyright
0
1999
ISSPR.
1350-4126/99 $9.50
Adult attachment, emotional control,
and marital satisfaction
JUDITH A. FEENEY
University
of
Queensiand, Australia
Abstract
This study extends previous research into the relations among attachment style, emotional experience, and
emotional control. Questionnaire measures
of
these variables were completed by a broad sample
of
238
married couples. Continuous measures
of
attachment showed that insecure attachment (low Comfort with
closeness; high Anxiety over relationships) was related to greater control
of
emotion, regardless
of
whether
the emotion was partner-related
or
not. Insecure attachment was also associated with less frequent and
intense positive emotion and with more frequent and intense negative emotion, although these links
depended on context (partner-related
or
not), attachment dimension, and gender. Emotional control added to
the prediction
of
marital satisfaction, after controlling for attachment dimensions; the most robust links with
satisfaction were inverse relations with own control
of
positive emotion and with partner’s control
of
negative
emotion. The results are discussed in terms
of
attachment theory, affect regulation, and communication in
marriage.
There is substantial support for Hazan and
Shaver’s (1987) proposition that attachment
theory can be usefully applied to romantic
relationships. Measures of adult attachment
style have been related to the quality of
romantic relationships, as assessed
by
self-
report questionnaires (Collins
&
Read,
1990; Kirkpatrick
&
Davis, 1994), interview
and diary-based reports (Feeney
&
Noller,
1991;Feeney,Noller,
&
Callan, 1994), behav-
ioral ratings (Mikulincer
&
Nachshon, 1991;
Simpson,Rholes,
&
Nelligan, 1992), and cor-
roborative reports by partners (Kobak
&
Hazan, 1991).
Much of this research is based on the
premise that different attachment styles re-
flect differences in affect regulation-that
is, ways
of
dealing with negative emotion.
Through experiences with caregivers, indi-
viduals learn strategies for organizing emo-
tional experience and handling attachment-
Address reprint requests to Judith A. Feeney, Depart-
ment
of
Psychology, University
of
Queensland, Queens-
land 4072, Australia. E-mail: judy@psy.uq.edu.au.
related distress, and these strategies gener-
alize to other distressing situations (Sroufe
&
Waters, 1977). Secure individuals, having
experienced relatively warm and sensitive
caregiving, tend to handle negative feelings
constructively by acknowledging distress
and seeking support. Avoidant individuals,
having experienced insensitive or rejecting
caregiving, tend
to
restrict expression of
negative feelings in order to reduce conflict
with attachment figures. Anxious-ambiva-
lent individuals, by contrast, are thought to
show heightened awareness and expression
of negative feelings, learned as a way of
maintaining contact with inconsistent care-
givers (Kobak
&
Sceery, 1988).
Adult Attachment and Negative Emotion
Researchers have used the concept of affect
regulation to explain differences between
adult attachment groups in responses to ill-
ness, fear, and
loss,
and in the processing
of
negative memories (Feeney
&
Noller, 1992;
Feeney
&
Ryan, 1994; Mikulincer, Florian,
&
Tolmacz, 1990; Mikulincer
&
Orbach,
169

170
J.A.
Feeney
1995). Further, the frequency of negative
emotion in romantic relationships has been
related inversely to secure attachment, and
positively to avoidant and ambivalent at-
tachment (Fuller
&
Fincham, 1995; Simp-
son,
1990).
Laboratory studies directly assessing
partners’ responses to affect-laden situa-
tions also highlight the role of attachment
style. Simpson et al. (1992) showed that
when female partners were led to antici-
pate a stressful event, secure females’ sup-
port-seeking and secure males’ support-
giving increased with females’ anxiety level;
avoidant individuals, however, retreated
from their partners when females’ anxiety
was high. Secure individuals show less
negative affect than do others in response
to partners’ primed distancing behavior
(Feeney, 1998), and ambivalent individuals
become more distressed than do others
during conflict interactions (Simpson,
Rholes,
&
Phillips, 1996).
These laboratory studies need to be inte-
grated with more naturalistic research into
the link between adult attachment and the
expression or control of various negative
emotions in intimate relationships. Verbal
descriptions of responses to physical sepa-
ration from dating partners suggest that
subjects high in Anxiety over relationships
(cf. anxious-ambivalence) are more likely
than others to feel extreme negative emo-
tion (despair, anger) during these times, but
are less likely to discuss such feelings with
their partners (Feeney, 1998). In another
study of affect regulation in dating couples,
participants rated their own and partner’s
responses to each of three negative emo-
tions in their relationship: anger, sadness,
and anxiety (Feeney, 1995). Insecure attach-
ment (low Comfort with closeness, high
Anxiety over relationships) was related to
more frequent
experience
of negative affect
in the relationship. Low Comfort with close-
ness was also related to reports
of
greater
control (“bottling up”) of all three emo-
tions. Anxiety over relationships was re-
lated to greater control
of
anger, and to the
perception that partners controlled their
own sadness. Verbal reports of subjects’
typical responses to the emotions also
showed attachment differences, with secure
respondents reporting more direct and
open discussion of their emotion than other
attachment groups.
These studies (Feeney, 1995, 1998) sup-
port Bowlby’s assertion that anxiously at-
tached children and adults will often fail to
express their anger toward an attachment
figure, for fear that expressions of hostility
will drive the attachment figure away
(Bowlby, 1973, pp. 250-256). This proposi-
tion is important to bear in mind, because
some researchers into adult attachment
have argued that anxious-ambivalence is
marked by heightened expressions of anger
and fear displayed directly toward attach-
ment figures (e.g., Kobak
&
Sceery, 1988, p.
136). Rather, it seems that ambivalent indi-
viduals (those high in Anxiety over rela-
tionships) may try to control or “bottle up”
emotions such as anger
so
as not to place
the relationship at risk. Further, the ten-
dency for anxious-ambivalence to be linked
to control of anger may be especially
marked in the case of adult attachments.
Unlike infant-caregiver attachments, the
prototypical romantic bond involves recip-
rocal caregiving between peers; each part-
ner relies
on
and supports the other (Hazan
&
Shaver, 1994). Hence, it may be seen as
less acceptable for adults to use extreme
displays of distress to maintain contact with
partners.
Clarifying the role of adult attachment in
the control of emotion also requires consid-
eration of how these variables impact
on
re-
lationship quality. In another study
of
the
sample reported by Feeney
(1999,
partner’s
control of emotion predicted relationship
satisfaction, beyond that explained by own
and partner’s attachment dimensions: Satis-
faction was related inversely to partner’s
control of sadness, but positively to partner’s
control
of
anger (Feeney, Noller,
&
Roberts,
1998). Emotional control partly mediated
the link between attachment and females’
satisfaction; specifically, the lower satisfac-
tion of females whose partners lacked Com-
fort with closeness was explained by the
partners’ bottling up
of
emotion. By con-

Attachment, control, and satisfaction
171
trast, attachment and emotional control ex-
erted independent effects on males’ satis-
faction. The prediction
of
satisfaction from
emotional control, after statistically control-
ling for attachment, highlights the robust
effect
of
emotional expressiveness on re-
lationship quality (Noller
&
Fitzpatrick,
1990); this effect is not surprising, given that
affective processing is inextricably tied both
to overt behavior and to cognitions about
the partner and relationship (Bradbury
&
Fincham, 1991).
Adult Attachment and Positive Emotion
The need to study the regulation of positive
emotion is highlighted by the finding that
satisfied couples not only handle negative
emotions better than distressed couples, but
also report much more positive interaction
(Broderick
&
O’Leary, 1986). Further, long-
term happily married couples emphasize
the role
of
positive affect in keeping their
marriages satisfying (Osgarby
&
Halford,
1996). Attachment theory has focused
mainly on negative affect, but interactions
with caregivers are also likely to influence
the experience of positive affect and the
strategies learned to deal with it. Indeed,
expressions of positive affect are central to
the concept of the attachment bond (Sroufe
&
Waters, 1977). Moreover, infants’ positive
emotionality is linked to parents’ involve-
ment with the infant, and attachment secu-
rity at
12
months relates more strongly to
prior change in infants’ positive emotional-
ity than to change in their negative emo-
tionality (Belsky, Fish,
&
Isabella, 1991).
Among adults, avoidant and anxious/ am-
bivalent attachment styles have been linked
to
less
frequent
experience
of positive affect
in intimate relationships (Simpson, 1990).
Predictions can also be made about the im-
plications of adult attachment for the
con-
trol
or expression of positive emotion, given
individual differences in attachment-related
attitudes and goals, and the importance of
distance-regulation in adult attachments
(Collins
&
Read, 1994; Pistole, 1994). Be-
cause the expression of positive emotion
is
likely to lead to increased intimacy, indi-
viduals who prefer to maintain distance
from their partners (i.e., individuals who are
avoidant, or low in Comfort with closeness)
may tend to contain these emotions. In con-
trast, ambivalent individuals (those high in
Anxiety over relationships) desire extreme
closeness, but fear rejection and
loss.
Al-
though the desire for extreme closeness sug-
gests a tendency to expresslove and warmth,
fears about loss and lack of reciprocation
may lead ambivalent individuals to be cau-
tious about expressing such feelings unless
they are confident of their partners’ re-
sponse. Hence, Anxiety over relationships
may show no systematic link with control of
positive emotion.
In studying the link between adult at-
tachment and the control of positive affect,
a number of specific emotions should be
assessed. First, happiness (or joy) is im-
portant, given widespread consensus that
happiness is one of the “basic” emotions
(Chance, 1980). Second, love is clearly rele-
vant, because attachment theory deals with
bonds of affection, and with individual dif-
ferences in expressions of love and affec-
tion; in addition, love features prominently
in laypersons’ lists of emotions, and it satis-
fies most
of
the criteria used to define basic
emotions (Shaver, Morgan,
&
Wu, 1996).
Third, pride is relevant to attachment re-
search because it is a self-evaluative emo-
tion (i.e., it involves evaluation of the self
against some standard; Fischer
&
Tangney,
1995). Caregivers play a key role in the de-
velopment of self-evaluative emotions, by
showing approval or disapproval of particu-
lar outcomes (Stipek, 1995). Moreover, like
working models of attachment, pride is
based on cognitive representations of self
and other (Mascolo
&
Fischer, 1995).
The Present Study
This study extends previous research relat-
ing attachment style to the experience and
the control of particular emotions (Feeney,
1995). In addition to recruiting married
(rather than dating) couples, the previous
work was extended in four ways. First, con-
sistent with the arguments made earlier, the

172
LA.
Feeney
focus was
on
positive emotions (happiness,
love, and pride), as well as negative emo-
tions (anger, sadness, and anxiety).
Second, to clarify any observed relations
between attachment style and emotional
control, measures of both the frequency and
intensity of emotional experience were in-
cluded. Feeney (1995) investigated the pos-
sibility that insecure individuals might re-
port greater control of negative emotions
than would secure individuals simply be-
cause they experienced such emotions more
frequently. Her data did not support this in-
terpretation, but the failure to control for
the intensity of emotional experience was a
limitation of that study.
Third, emotional experience and control
were rated for each of two contexts. Specifi-
cally, participants rated how frequently and
intensely they experienced each emotion
when it was caused by “something the part-
ner had done” (partner-related context),
and when it was caused by “something not
involving the partner” (other context); they
also rated how much they controlled or con-
tained each emotion from their partner,
when the emotion was partner-related and
when it was not. Attachment theory states
that rules and strategies for regulating dis-
tress, learned with caregivers, generalize to
other emotionally laden situations. Hence,
attachment style should predict the ten-
dency to
contain (control) emotion from
partners,
whether the emotion is attributed
directly to the partner or not. By contrast,
the strength of the link between attachment
and
emotional experience
may depend on
the source of the emotion: Attachment
measures tap thoughts and feelings about
intimate bonds, and they tend to relate more
strongly to emotional experience with in-
timate partners than to general emotionality
(Shaver
&
Brennan, 1992). One exception to
this might be the link between anxious-
ambivalence and the pervasive experience
of
negative affect (Feeney
&
Ryan, 1994).
Fourth, the implications of attachment
dimensions and emotional control for re-
lationship satisfaction were assessed. As
noted earlier, Feeney et al. (1997) found
that partner’s control of negative emotion
accounted for variance
in
relationship satis-
faction, beyond that explained by attach-
ment. There was also evidence that the link
between attachment and satisfaction may
be mediated, in part, by emotional control.
There is a need to replicate and extend
these findings to encompass the control of
positive emotion.
Three hypotheses were derived from the
literature reviewed above. For ease of pres-
entation, the hypotheses are phrased in
terms
of
attachment dimensions, although
attachment style was also assessed. Given
the limited research in this area, differential
predictions were made for broad emotion
type (positive, negative), but not for specific
emotions. Similarly, differential predictions
were not made for the effects
of
own and
partner’s attachment, although the latter ef-
fects may be weaker (Feeney, 1995).
Hypothesis
1
concerns the link between
attachment and emotional control:
H1:
Comfort with closeness was expected to
be related inversely to the control
of
all
types
of
emotion. Anxiety over relation-
ships was expected to be related directly to
the control
of
negative emotion (partner-
related and other), but unrelated to the
control
of
positive emotion.
Hypothesis 2 concerns attachment and
emotional experience (frequency; inten-
sity):
H2:
Security
of
attachment (Comfort with
closeness; low Anxiety over relationships)
was expected to relate inversely to the ex-
perience
of
negative emotion and posi-
tively to the experience
of
positive emo-
tion. Except for the link between Anxiety
over relationships and experience
of
nega-
tive affect, these relations were expected to
be strongest
for
partner-related emotions.
Hypothesis
3
concerns the predictors of
marital satisfaction:
H3;
Emotional control was expected to pre-
dict marital satisfaction, after own and

Attachment, control, and satisfaction
173
partner’s attachment dimensions were sta-
tistically controlled. Specifically, it was
predicted that control of negative and
positive emotions would be inversely re-
lated to satisfaction, although the possibil-
ity
was explored that control of anger may
not be detrimental to relationship quality.
Method
Participants and procedure
Participants were 238 married couples re-
cruited by third-year psychology students as
part of a class project. Students worked in
pairs, with each pair asked to recruit four
married couples from a range of sources
(family, friends, colleagues).
To
maximize
the reliability of the data, teaching assistants
met with groups of students to discuss the
process of data collection and to deal with
any problems. A telephone contact was also
provided to the couples
so
that any queries
about the project could be addressed by the
researcher. This type of sampling procedure
has been shown to provide data that are
fairly representative
of
the population at
large (e.g., Noller, Law,
&
Cornrey, 1987).
A covering letter to couples explained
the purpose and confidential nature of the
project, and it emphasized the importance
of each spouse completing the items inde-
pendently. The order of instruments within
the questionnaire package was counterbal-
anced. Couples returned the completed
questionnaires to the researcher directly by
mail, or via the student who recruited them.
Sixty-eight couples who were approached
by students declined to participate (a re-
sponse rate of 77.8%).
The sample represented a broad range of
educational and occupational backgrounds.
Although
60%
of husbands and 58% of
wives had some tertiary education, roughly
one quarter (24%
of
husbands, 28%
of
wives) had completed high school only, and
the remainder had not completed schooling.
A minority of the sample (9% of husbands,
30% of wives) were students or homemak-
ers; 47% of husbands and 33% of wives held
managerial or professional positions, and
the remainder were evenly spread across
manual and clerical occupations. Length
of
marriage ranged from
1
to 52 years, with a
mean of 11.37 and a median of 10 years.
Measures
Attachment.
To
provide comprehensive as-
sessment of current attachment, two meas-
ures were employed. First, attachment style
was assessed by asking participants to en-
dorse one
of
the four attachment descrip-
tions developed by Bartholomew and Horo-
witz (1991): secure, preoccupied, dismissing,
and fearful.
Second, participants completed a 13-item
measure (Feeney et al., 1994), which yields
scores on the two major dimensions under-
lying attachment style: Comfort with close-
ness (referred to as Comfort); and Anxiety
over relationships (referred to as Anxiety).
These two scales have been reported inde-
pendently by other researchers (Simpson,
1990; Strahan, 1991). Sample items for the
Comfort scale
(8
items) include
“I
find it
relatively easy to get close to others” and
“I
find it difficult to depend on others” (re-
verse-scored). Items for the Anxiety scale
(5
items) include
“I
often worry that my part-
ner doesn’t really love me” and
“I
don’t
often worry about being abandoned” (re-
verse-scored). The items employ a 5-point
response format, from
1
=
not at all like me,
to 5
=
very much like me. Alpha reliability
coefficients for the present sample were .78
(Comfort) and
.87
(Anxiety).
Emotional control.
Twelve 2-item scales
assessed the reported control of emotion
within the marriage. Specifically, partici-
pants rated the extent to which they control-
led each of three negative emotions (anger,
sadness, and anxiety) and three positive
emotions (happiness, love, and pride). For
each emotion, control was assessed for the
two contexts described earlier: partner-
related (when the emotion was caused by
something the partner had done), and other
(when it was caused by something not in-
volving the partner). In each of the 12 scales,
one item measured the extent to which par-
ticipants “bottled up the feeling and kept it

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TL;DR: It is shown that considerable progress has been made in testing central hypotheses derived from attachment theory and in exploring unconscious, psychodynamic processes related to affect-regulation and attachment-system activation.
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TL;DR: Evidence is provided that individuals are predisposed to appraise their support experiences in ways that are consistent with their chronic working models of attachment, especially when the support message is ambiguous.
Abstract: Two studies examined the association between attachment style and perceptions of social support. Study 1 (N = 95 couples) used an experimental paradigm to manipulate social support in the context of a stressful task. Insecure participants (anxious and avoidant) who received low-support messages appraised these messages more negatively, rated a prior behavioral interaction with their partner as having been less supportive, and performed significantly worse at their task compared with secure participants. Study 2 (N = 153 couples) used a similar paradigm except that partners were allowed to send genuine support messages. Insecure participants (especially fearful) perceived their partners' messages as less supportive, even after controlling for independent ratings of the messages and relationship-specific expectations. These studies provide evidence that individuals are predisposed to appraise their support experiences in ways that are consistent with their chronic working models of attachment, especially when the support message is ambiguous.

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Additional excerpts

  • ...…sensitive and responsive care toward others (Carnelley, Pietromonaco, & Jaffe, 1996; Collins & Feeney, 2000; B. C. Feeney & Collins, 2001; J. A. Feeney, 1999; Fraley & Shaver, 1998; Kunce & Shaver, 1994; Simpson, Rholes, Campbell, Tran, & Wilson, 2003; Simpson et al., 1992; Simpson, Rholes,…...

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Journal ArticleDOI
Mario Mikulincer1, Phillip R. Shaver2Institutions (2)
Abstract: Attachment theory is a powerful framework for understanding affect regulation. In this article, we examine the role played by attachment orientation in shaping emotional reactions to interpersonal transactions within close relationships. Using our recent integrative model of attachment-system activation and dynamics as a guide (M. Mikulincer & P. R. Shaver, 2003), we review relevant evidence, present new findings, and propose hypotheses concerning how people with different attachment styles are likely to react emotionally to relational events. Specifically, we focus on attachment-related variations in the emotional states elicited by a relationship partner’s positive and negative behaviors and by signals of a partner’s (relationship relevant or relationship irrelevant) distress or pleasure. In so doing, we organize existing knowledge and point the way to future research on attachment-related emotions in close relationships.

459 citations


Cites background from "Adult attachment, emotional control..."

  • ...…expression of positive emotions (Ducharme, Doyle, & Markiewicz, 2002; Searle & Meara, 1999; Tucker & Anders, 1999) and to high scores on scales assessing control over positive emotions—the tendency to bottle up positive emotions and conceal them from a relationship partner (Feeney, 1995, 1999)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Based on the reviewed findings, an integrative, systemic theoretical model delineating how the links between partners' attachment security and the quality of their couple relationship occurs is provided.
Abstract: Theory and research on adult attachment style emphasize the crucial role that the sense of attachment security plays in the formation and maintenance of couple relationships. In the present article, we review studies that have examined the contribution of adult attachment style to relational cognitions, emotions, and behaviors as well as to the formation, quality, and stability of dating and marital relationships. We discuss some of the measurement and design issues raised by this research. Based on the reviewed findings, we provide an integrative, systemic theoretical model delineating how the links between partners' attachment security and the quality of their couple relationship occurs. Finally, we discuss the implications of this model for the understanding of how attachment style and couple relationships combine to affect the family system in general, and parent-child relationships and children's developmental outcomes, in particular.

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  • ...These findings have been replicated and extended in a number of subsequent studies (e.g., Davila, Bradbury, & Fincham, 1998; Feeney, 1999c; Lussier, Sabourin, & Turgeon, 1997; Mikulincer, Horesh, LevyShiff, et al., 1998)....

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  • ...Insecure persons’ experiences with nonresponsive others teach them that attachment behaviors are painful and that other interaction goals and behaviors should be developed as defenses against the distress caused by attachment experiences (Bowlby, 1988)....

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  • ...Specifically, the sense of attachment security has been identified as a major variable explaining variations in the quality of dating and marital relationships (see Feeney, 1999a, Shaver & Hazan, 1993, for reviews)....

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  • ...…(e.g., Rubin’s Love scale, Dependency scale, Self-disclosure scale, Relationship Rating Form) in a number of cross-sectional (Collins & Read, 1990; Feeney, 1999b; Feeney & Noller, 1991; Feeney, Noller, & Patty, 1993; Hazan & Shaver, 1987; Hendrick & Hendrick, 1989; Levy & Davis, 1988; Mikulincer…...

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Abstract: The purpose of this article is to review the theoretical and empirical literature regarding the normative development of the attachment system from infancy through adulthood, and then discuss deviations from the normal developmental pathways that occur in response to emotionally abusive parenting (e.g., strong rejection, intrusive or controlling, hostile, or frightening behavior). A theoretical model grounded in attachment theory is presented describing the development of maladaptive interaction patterns in adult romantic relationships. The model proposes that early emotional abuse engenders insecure attachment, which impairs emotional regulation, fosters negative views of self and others that support maladaptive coping responses, interferes with social functioning and the capacity for intimate adult attachments, contributes to poor mental health, and consequently shapes the quality of romantic relationships.

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Cites background from "Adult attachment, emotional control..."

  • ...…at later ages, enjoy physical contact that is both intimate and sexual with their partners, prefer “normative” sexual behaviors, experience positive emotions after sexual intercourse, and are unlikely to have sex outside their primary relationships (Brennan, Clark, & Shaver, 1998; Feeney, 1999)....

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  • ...demonstrate low self-disclosure, and respond negatively when others selfdisclose to them (Bradford, Feeney, & Campbell, 2002; Collins & Feeney, 2004; Feeney, 1999; Fraley & Shaver, 1999)....

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  • ...…emotions but endorse more casual attitudes toward sex, including promiscuity, “one-night stands,” extrarelationship sex, and pleasurable sex without love (Brennan & Shaver, 1995; Brennan, Wu, et al., 1998; Collins & Feeney, 2004; Feeney, 1999; Feeney, Noller, & Patty, 1993; Hazan & Zeifman, 1994)....

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Abstract: In this article, we attempt to distinguish between the properties of moderator and mediator variables at a number of levels. First, we seek to make theorists and researchers aware of the importance of not using the terms moderator and mediator interchangeably by carefully elaborating, both conceptually and strategically, the many ways in which moderators and mediators differ. We then go beyond this largely pedagogical function and delineate the conceptual and strategic implications of making use of such distinctions with regard to a wide range of phenomena, including control and stress, attitudes, and personality traits. We also provide a specific compendium of analytic procedures appropriate for making the most effective use of the moderator and mediator distinction, both separately and in terms of a broader causal system that includes both moderators and mediators.

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is explored the possibility that romantic love is an attachment process--a biosocial process by which affectional bonds are formed between adult lovers, just as affectional Bonds are formed earlier in life between human infants and their parents.
Abstract: This article explores the possibility that romantic love is an attachment process--a biosocial process by which affectional bonds are formed between adult lovers, just as affectional bonds are formed earlier in life between human infants and their parents. Key components of attachment theory, developed by Bowlby, Ainsworth, and others to explain the development of affectional bonds in infancy, were translated into terms appropriate to adult romantic love. The translation centered on the three major styles of attachment in infancy--secure, avoidant, and anxious/ambivalent--and on the notion that continuity of relationship style is due in part to mental models (Bowlby's "inner working models") of self and social life. These models, and hence a person's attachment style, are seen as determined in part by childhood relationships with parents. Two questionnaire studies indicated that relative prevalence of the three attachment styles is roughly the same in adulthood as in infancy, the three kinds of adults differ predictably in the way they experience romantic love, and attachment style is related in theoretically meaningful ways to mental models of self and social relationships and to relationship experiences with parents. Implications for theories of romantic love are discussed, as are measurement problems and other issues related to future tests of the attachment perspective.

7,410 citations


"Adult attachment, emotional control..." refers background in this paper

  • ...There is substantial support for Hazan and Shaver’s (1987) proposition that attachment theory can be usefully applied to romantic...

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The proposed model was shown to be applicable to representations of family relations; Ss' attachment styles with peers were correlated with family attachment ratings.
Abstract: A new 4-group model of attachment styles in adulthood is proposed. Four prototypic attachment patterns are defined using combinations of a person's self-image (positive or negative) and image of others (positive or negative). In Study 1, an interview was developed to yield continuous and categorical ratings of the 4 attachment styles. Intercorrelations of the attachment ratings were consistent with the proposed model. Attachment ratings were validated by self-report measures of self-concept and interpersonal functioning. Each style was associated with a distinct profile of interpersonal problems, according to both self- and friend-reports. In Study 2, attachment styles within the family of origin and with peers were assessed independently. Results of Study 1 were replicated. The proposed model was shown to be applicable to representations of family relations; Ss' attachment styles with peers were correlated with family attachment ratings.

6,232 citations


"Adult attachment, emotional control..." refers methods in this paper

  • ...First, attachment style was assessed by asking participants to endorse one of the four attachment descriptions developed by Bartholomew and Horowitz (1991): secure, preoccupied, dismissing, and fearful....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Dimensions of attachment style were strongly related to how each partner perceived the relationship, although the dimension of attachment that best predicted quality differed for men and women.
Abstract: Three studies were conducted to examine the correlates of adult attachment. In Study 1, an 18-item scale to measure adult attachment style dimensions was developed based on Kazan and Shaver's (1987) categorical measure. Factor analyses revealed three dimensions underlying this measure: the extent to which an individual is comfortable with closeness, feels he or she can depend on others, and is anxious or fearful about such things as being abandoned or unloved. Study 2 explored the relation between these attachment dimensions and working models of self and others. Attachment dimensions were found to be related to self-esteem, expressiveness, instrumentality, trust in others, beliefs about human nature, and styles of loving. Study 3 explored the role of attachment style dimensions in three aspects of ongoing dating relationships: partner matching on attachment dimensions; similarity between the attachment of one's partner and caregiving style of one's parents; and relationship quality, including communication, trust, and satisfaction. Evidence was obtained for partner matching and for similarity between one's partner and one's parents, particularly for one's opposite-sex parent. Dimensions of attachment style were strongly related to how each partner perceived the relationship, although the dimension of attachment that best predicted quality differed for men and women. For women, the extent to which their partner was comfortable with closeness was the best predictor of relationship quality, whereas the best predictor for men was the extent to which their partner was anxious about being abandoned or unloved. It is generally believed that the nature and quality of one's close relationships in adulthood are strongly influenced by affective events that took place during childhood, particularly within the child-caretaker relationship. Yet, only recently have social psychologists begun to integrate work on adult love relationships with developmental theory and research on the nature and functioning of parent-child relations (Hartup & Rubin, 1986; Kazan & Shaver, 1987;Hinde, 1979;HindeS Shaver & Hazan, 1988; Shaver, Hazan, & Bradshaw, 1988; Shaver R Weiss, 1982,1986). Of particular interest has been the extent to which a child's early attachment relationships with caretakers shape important beliefs about the self and social world, which then guide relationships in adulthood. Recently, Hazan and Shaver (1987) have used infant attachment theory (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Bowlby, 1982,1973,1980) as a framework for examining how adult love relationships are related to early parent-child interactions. The

3,342 citations


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No. of citations received by the Paper in previous years
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20211
20208
20198
201813
20173
201615