PSYC 215 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Attachment In Adults, Attachment Theory, Trait Theory

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PSYC215–Lecture#13:AttachmentandCloseRelationships

Thecloserelationshipsliteratureexamines
Types(ex.Friendship,family,romantic)andstyles(companion,passionate)ofrelationships
Attractionandrelationshipinitiation
Selfdisclosureandintimacy
Satisfactionandcommitment
Relationshiptermination

Background
Bowlby’sAttachmentTheory(1969)
Evolutionhaswiredhumanstoseekclosenessand,thereby,emotionalsecurity
Welearnpatternsofcloseness,developing“workingmodels”ofhowbesttoachievecloseness
andemotionalsecurity;toknowhowtogettothatemotionalsecurity
Someonewecanrelyonifwearedistressed,inneed


AdultAttachmentTheory
Dosimilarattachmentprinciplesapplytoadultcloserelationships?
Unclearwhetherpeople’sattachmentpatternsinadulthoodaredirectlyderivedfromtheir
patternsinchildhood
Manypeoplebelieve:wewon’tconsiderwhetherthisisbasedonchildhood

AttachmentStyles
Secure:easytobecomeemotionallyclosetoothers
Anxious(preoccupied):wanttobeintimatewithothersbutfindthatothersarereluctanttoget
close
Dismissiveavoidant:comfortablewithoutcloseemotionalrelationships;importanttofeel
independent
Fearfulavoidant:uncomfortablegettingclosetoothers;difficulttotrustothers

AdultAttachment
Approximatepercentagesinmoststudiesusingathreecategoryapproach:
55%secure
25%avoidant
20%anxious
doesattachmentstylecorrelatewithanythinginterestinginadultcloserelationships?

Simpsonetal(1992)
Doesattachmentstylerelatetoreactionstostress?
Method:
Participants:datingcouples
Measuredattachmentstylesofeachperson
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Toldthewomanthatshewouldbetakingpartin“stressfulactivity”–toldtherewouldbeno
permanenttissuedamage;vagueandthreateningtomakethepersonfeelstressed
Thenleftherthereintheroomwiththedatingpartner
Couplevideotapedwhiletheywaitedfor5minutes;wouldattachmentstylepredictreaction?
Forsecurewomen,themorescaredtheylookedthemorecomforttheysought
Foravoidantwomen,themorescaredtheylookedthelesscomforttheysought;notcomfortable
inrelyingonherpartner
Foranxiouswomen,theresultswereunclear


Correlatesofsecurepattern(justasillustrations):
Highlyinvestedinrelationships;tendstohavelong,trustingones
Grievesfollowinglossbutachievesresolution
Enjoyssexbutusuallyinthecontextofalongtermrelationships
Feelswelllikedbycoworkers
Issupportiveofpartnerwhenpartnerisunderstress
Selfdisclosesappropriatelyandlikesothertoselfdisclose

Correlatesofavoidantpattern:
Lessinvestedinrelationships,expresseslessgrieffollowingloss
Hasmoreonnightstands
Preferstoworkalone;workisexcusetoavoidcloserelationships
Describesparentsascoldandrejecting
Withdrawssupportfrompartnerwhenpartnerorselfisstressed
Feelsboredanddistantduringsocialinteractions
Doesn’tliketoselfdisclose,doesn’tapproveofotherswhodisclose

Correlatesofanxiouspattern:
Investedinrelationshipsyethighbreakuprate
Grievesintenselyfollowingloss
Prefersthecuddlyratherthanthegenitalaspectsofsex
Preferstoworkwithothersfeelsunderappreciatedatwork
Worriesaboutrejectionduringdailyinteractions
Selfdisclosestoomuchandindiscriminately,likesdisclosures
Subjecttojealous,unregulatedanger
Isattachmentstylebestconsideredapersonalitytrait,developedwhenweareyoungandhighly
consistentthroughoutlife?
Baldwinsaysnotlikely:evidencesuggeststhatselfreportedstyleisonlymoderatelystable,
evenoverashortperiodoftime
Also,childrenandadultscanoftenhavedifferentstyleswithdifferentsignificantothers(ex.
Mother,father,orromanticpartner)
Mightitbeusefultotakeasocialcognitiveapproach,byexaminingattachment“working
models”?
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