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Physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions to breaking up: The roles of gender, age, emotional involvement, and attachment style Davis, Shaver, & Vernon.

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Presentation on theme: "Physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions to breaking up: The roles of gender, age, emotional involvement, and attachment style Davis, Shaver, & Vernon."— Presentation transcript:

1 Physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions to breaking up: The roles of gender, age, emotional involvement, and attachment style Davis, Shaver, & Vernon (2003)

2 Introduction Anxious attachment associated with negative physical & emotional responses upon relationship dissolution Anxious attachment associated with negative physical & emotional responses upon relationship dissolution Few studies have examined behavioural responses & individual differences Few studies have examined behavioural responses & individual differences PURPOSE: examine dysfunctional reactions to breakups among attachment styles PURPOSE: examine dysfunctional reactions to breakups among attachment styles Distress/preoccupation Distress/preoccupation Ambivalent acting out Ambivalent acting out Coping & resolution Coping & resolution

3 Adult Attachment Regulation of Distress Secure Secure Adaptive coping Adaptive coping Understanding perspective Understanding perspective Avoidant Avoidant Fewer emotional expressions Fewer emotional expressions Greater emotional avoidance Greater emotional avoidance Anxious Anxious ‘Coercive’ strategy ‘Coercive’ strategy Aggression & Seduction Aggression & Seduction

4 Attachment Perspective on Loss (Bowlby, 1980) Protest Protest Despair Despair Reorganization/Reintegration Reorganization/Reintegration Individual difference in ‘disordered mourning’ Individual difference in ‘disordered mourning’

5 Examined Reactions 1. Protest & Distress 3. Coping Strategies 2. Preoccupation/Exploration 4. Resolution

6 Method Participants Participants n = 5,248 ( 64.4 % female); age 15 – 50 (85.4 % age 15 – 29 ) n = 5,248 ( 64.4 % female); age 15 – 50 (85.4 % age 15 – 29 ) Procedure Procedure Internet based survey Internet based survey Measures Measures Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR; Brennan et al., 1998) Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR; Brennan et al., 1998) Reactions to Breaking Up (author constructed; 72-item) Reactions to Breaking Up (author constructed; 72-item) Demographics Demographics (e.g., who terminated relationship, emotional involvement) (e.g., who terminated relationship, emotional involvement) Analysis Analysis Series of correlations & regressions Series of correlations & regressions

7 1. Protest & Distress Protest Protest Characteristic when threat to availability Characteristic when threat to availability Ambivalent acting out – ‘bipolar’ between desire ↔ hostility Ambivalent acting out – ‘bipolar’ between desire ↔ hostility Distress Distress Emotional & Physical Emotional & Physical Lost interest in sex Lost interest in sex Blame of loss Blame of loss Guilt Guilt

8 1. Protest & Distress H1 a : Distress & protest rxns = +ve attachment anxiety H1 a : Distress & protest rxns = +ve attachment anxiety (ps <.001) (ps <.001) ✔ Anxious attachment =  aggression Anxious attachment =  aggression H1 b : Distress & protest rxns = -ve attachment avoidance H1 b : Distress & protest rxns = -ve attachment avoidance (ps <.001) (ps <.001) ✔ Emotional involvement associated with distress Emotional involvement associated with distress (.05< ps <.001) (.05< ps <.001) Strongest = emotional distress; weakest = self-blame Strongest = emotional distress; weakest = self-blame Avoidant = more self-blame (vs. partner blame)? Avoidant = more self-blame (vs. partner blame)?

9 2. Preoccupation/ Exploration H2 a : breakups =  preoccupation in anxiously attached H2 a : breakups =  preoccupation in anxiously attached (p <.001) (p <.001) ✔ H2 b :  preoccupation = interference of exploratory behaviour H2 b :  preoccupation = interference of exploratory behaviour (p <.001) (p <.001) ✔ Emotional involvement = associated with  preoccupation & interference of exploratory behaviour Emotional involvement = associated with  preoccupation & interference of exploratory behaviour (ps <.001) (ps <.001)

10 3. Coping Strategies H3: insecure attachment = maladaptive coping strategies H3: insecure attachment = maladaptive coping strategies Anxious attachment = social coping (p <.001) Anxious attachment = social coping (p <.001) Avoidant attachment = self-reliance (p <.001) Avoidant attachment = self-reliance (p <.001) Insecure attachment = alcohol & drug use (ps <.001) Insecure attachment = alcohol & drug use (ps <.001) Avoidance of partner: Avoidance of partner: Anxious = self-initiated termination (p <.001) Anxious = self-initiated termination (p <.001) Avoidant = other-initiated termination (p <.001) Avoidant = other-initiated termination (p <.001)  emotional involvement  emotional involvement

11 4. Resolution H4 a : anxious attachment =  perseverance to reestablish relationship H4 a : anxious attachment =  perseverance to reestablish relationship (p <.001) (p <.001) ✔ H4 b : anxious attachment = lost sense of identity H4 b : anxious attachment = lost sense of identity (p <.001) (p <.001) ✔ H4 c : replacement of lost partner =  anxiously attached H4 c : replacement of lost partner =  anxiously attached (p <.001); if self-initiated = +ve; partner initiated = -ve (p <.001); if self-initiated = +ve; partner initiated = -ve H4 d : replacement of lost partner =  avoidantly attached H4 d : replacement of lost partner =  avoidantly attached (p <.001) regardless of initiation (p <.001) regardless of initiation

12 Descriptive Results Gender ≠ differences in attachment style Gender ≠ differences in attachment style F = more emotionally involved F = more emotionally involved Person to initiate breakup: Person to initiate breakup:  anxiety  anxiety  emotional involvement  emotional involvement  avoidance  avoidance

13 Putting Humpty Back Together Those who are more emotionally involved experience greater distress Those who are more emotionally involved experience greater distress Anxious attachment: Anxious attachment: Preoccupation & perseverance interfere with functioning – exploratory behaviour, coping, disordered self-identity Preoccupation & perseverance interfere with functioning – exploratory behaviour, coping, disordered self-identity  motivation to reestablish relationship =  aggression  motivation to reestablish relationship =  aggression Avoidant attachment – not as boring as once thought? Avoidant attachment – not as boring as once thought? Unique finding of more self-blame – important? Unique finding of more self-blame – important?

14 Limitations Memory Recall Correlational – not causation Presenting this study: 1. in 15(ish) minutes 2. Organization Future Direction Examine longitudinally Different measures of attachment (e.g., AAI)  aggression in anxiously attached – examine gender perceptions & behaviours Verbal? Physical? Gender?

15 Talk to me.


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