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Chapter 8

PSY220H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Attachment In Adults, Sexual Attraction, Personal Advertisement

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Heather V.Fritzley

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PSY220: Chapter 8 Close Relationships (Lecture 8)
All close relationships share interdependence
Interdependence is the characteristic that is common to all close relationships.
Interdependence refers to an interpersonal association in which two people influence each other’s lives.
They often focus their thoughts on one another and regularly engage in joint activities including
commitment to the relationship itself
Formation of these bonds with other people can be crucial to our well-being (i.e. happiness, mental
health, physical health, morality) [Perlman 2007]
This may be motivated by evolutionary factors evidence for the importance of social bonds exists in
other species as well
Parent-child interactions constitute the basis for expectations about later relationships as they are usually an
infant’s first contact with another person
Adults use baby talk and display exaggerated facial expressions to engage infants
Infants are equipped to interact with fellow humans (they know when to smile, and to also look at
familiar faces)
The Lasting Importance of Parent-Child Interactions Attachment styles
The quality of the interaction between a mother (or caregiver) and their infant determines the
infant’s future interpersonal attitudes and actions, which are consistent with different
John Bowlby’s studies of mothers + infants led to the concept of attachment style
Attachment style: the degree of security an individual feels in interpersonal relationships.
The infant acquires two basic attitudes during their earliest interactions with an adult
The first attitude is about the self (self-esteem)the infant is valued, love or
The second attitude acquire is about other peopleinterpersonal trust; is the
caregiver perceived as trustworthy, dependable and reliable or not
We develop these basic attitudes about self and others before language
Based on the two basic attitudes people can be classified as having a particular
interaction style (Bartholomew)
Bartholomew, drawing on the work of Bowlby, says there are two dimensions that adult
attachment patterns are derived from
Positivity of the individual’s conception of the self (self-esteem)
Positivity of the individual’s model of others in general (interpersonal trust)
There are four attachment styles of the combination of the two dimensions
Secure attachment style: characterized by a person high in self-esteem and trust
Secure individuals best able to form lasting, committed, satisfying relationships
Also have a high need for achievement, low fear of failure, and desire to learn
about and explore one’s world
Lower level of loneliness, more socially skilled
Fearful-avoidant attachment style: tend to avoid close relationships or establish
unhappy partnerships
Low in both self-esteem and trust

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Avoid conflict, expressing themselves emotionally, and self-disclosure because of
fear of rejection
Preoccupied attachment style: a style characterized by low self-esteem, but high
interpersonal trust
Individuals desire close relationships, but feel they are unworthy of the partner
and is vulnerable to being rejected
Highly expressive, overly sensitive, have high need for attention and approval,
excessive self-disclosers
Dismissing attachment style: high in self-esteem and low in interpersonal trust
Belief that one is very much deserving of good relationships while expecting the
worst from people
Dismissing individuals fear genuine closeness, relationships with others lack
emotional expressiveness, self-disclosure, intimacy and affection (on their part)
Attachment styles that develop in infancy and childhood do remain constant, and are stable but
a very good or very bad relationship experience can lead to changes in style
Maunder & Hunter (2008)any insecure attachment style can actually lead to negative
impacts on physical well-being
Relationships between/among Siblings
Sibling interactions are important with respect to what we learn about interpersonal behaviour
Relationship between siblings has a significant influence on cognitive, emotional and social
development of the siblings
Sibling relationships tend to combine feelings of affection, hostility and rivalry
Affectionate sibling relationship is most likely if each has a warm relationship with their parents,
and if the mother and father are satisfied with their marriage
Positive/negative affect associated with siblings likely to be aroused in interactions with others
Schoolyard bullies, tend to have had ambivalent/negative relationships with their siblings
Boys with behavioural problems in school likely to have intense conflicts with sibling and
a rejecting mother
Siblings tend to grow apart in adolescence and young adulthood, but re-establish positive
relationships by middle age (20% of adult siblings never establish any degree of closeness)
Close friendships: a relationship in which two people spend a great deal of time together, interact in a
variety of situations and provide mutual emotional support
Exhibit modesty with their close friends less likely to lie to one another
‘We’ and ‘us’ rather than ‘she/he and I’
A close friend is valued for his/her generosity, sensitivity, and honesty to be yourself
Culture influences what friends value in each other
Xinyen Chen et al (2006)
In western cultures people encouraged to follow own interests and behave in
assertive ways during social interaction
In eastern cultures cooperative and affiliate behaviours are encouraged so
children learn skills and behaviours that help foster interpersonal cooperation
and group functioning
Culture influence close friendships too
Among Japanese college students ‘best friend’ someone in give-and-take
relationships, a person easy to get along with, who does not brag and is considerate and
not short tempered

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North American students describe the same way, except they also value a spontaneous
and active friend
Gender and Friendships
Women indicate they have more close friends than men, and place more importance
on intimacy (self-disclosure and emotional support)
Men tend to seek out more power and control with their friends, while women tend to strive for
more intimacy, connectedness and solidarity
Men often talk about women and sex, being trapped in a relationship, sports and alcohol
Women tend to talk about relationships with men, clothes, and problems with roommates
Burleson (2003) men and women views are not that different from each other
Close friendships are important to both men and women, for companionship and
Opposite-sex friendships
There are great similarities between same-sex friendships and opposite-sex friendships
(initiated for companionship, good time, conversation, looking for honest, friendly and
dependable people)
‘The need for companionship with someone who is kind, intelligent and trustworthy
transcends gender Bleske and Buss
Men reported more desire for sexual relations and sexual attraction (for forming
Women wanted physical protection for initiating friendships
Loneliness: the unpleasant emotional and cognitive state based on desiring close relationships but being
unable to attain them
People who are simply uninterested in having friends do not experience loneliness (e.g. for an individual
to desire solitude to relax)
Loneliness is a common human experience, common across cultures and age
The Consequences of Being Lonely
If a child has only one friend, it is enough to diminish feelings of loneliness
In absence of close friends, people who feel lonely tend to spend their leisure time in solitary
activity, have only causal friends/acquaintances
Loneliness is unpleasant, and the negative affect often includes depression, anxiety,
unhappiness, dissatisfaction, pessimism about the future, self-blame and shyness
From the perspective of others lonely individuals are perceived as maladjusted
Poor health and reduced life expectancy
Why are some people lonely?
Origins of dispositional loneliness include a combination of genetics, attachment style, and the
opportunity for early social experiences with peers
Genetic disposition
McGuire and Clifford (2000) conducted a behavioural genetic investigation of loneliness
among children aged 9 14
Data indicated – loneliness is based in part on inherited factors
Monozygotic twins are more similar in loneliness than dizygotic twins greater the
genetic similarity, greater similarity in loneliness
But, there are environmental factorsadopted siblings raised in the same environment
are more similar in loneliness than random pairs of children.
Attachment style
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