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Davis, Shaver, & Vernon (2003)

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1 Davis, Shaver, & Vernon (2003)
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 Few studies have examined behavioural responses & individual differences PURPOSE: examine dysfunctional reactions to breakups among attachment styles Distress/preoccupation Ambivalent acting out Coping & resolution Few studies have shown that attachment anxiety is associated with enhanced distress upon breakups. This study serves to expand on this scarce literature by examining attachment-related reactions to breakups ranging from stages of distress through coping to eventual (or as you’ll soon see, lack thereof) resolution.

3 Adult Attachment Regulation of Distress Secure Anxious Avoidant
Adaptive coping Understanding perspective Avoidant Fewer emotional expressions Greater emotional avoidance Anxious ‘Coercive’ strategy Aggression & Seduction Adult attachment theory – I know we have gone through the theory of attachment a number of times now, so I will just briefly recap the strategies of adult attachment styles An individuals attachment stystem is activated during times of distress to either self, attachment figure, or challenging situaitions which the person may be motivated to find a secure base Attachment and the regulation of distress is what characteristics of each attachment style we expect to see in the context of relationship dissolution

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

5 2. Preoccupation/Exploration
Examined Reactions 1. Protest & Distress 2. Preoccupation/Exploration 3. Coping Strategies 4. Resolution Protest & Distress: -Threat to availability of attachment figure -Ambivalent reaction: Desire ↔ Hostility -Emotional involvement as fn of attachment style Preoccupation/Exploration Concerns the excessive preoccupation or Constant attention of thoughts, of the lost partner. This increased attention of ones thoughts can thus in turn affect the level of attention that one can have in their daily functioning Coping strategies Differences in adopted coping strategies between attachment styles Resoltution: Resolcing loss of partner goes through the natural grief process (depression, crying, sorrow), but this for some people can be extended or short lived, known as a maladaptive groefing period Resolution also involved integration of thoughts, memories, and feelings from previous relationship to allow ourself to continue on with our identiy and keeping our self-concept It is believed that examining attachment styles in terms of resolution may reveal certain patterns of grieveing, or lack thereof, that may nterefere with individuals contining on in life

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

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

8 1. Protest & Distress H1a: Distress & protest rxns = +ve attachment anxiety (ps < .001) Anxious attachment =  aggression H1b: Distress & protest rxns = -ve attachment avoidance Emotional involvement associated with distress (.05< ps < .001) Strongest = emotional distress; weakest = self-blame Avoidant = more self-blame (vs. partner blame)? Desire (or proximity seeking) Women less likely to use sexual rouses to reestablish relationship than men, but women are more likely to be hostile and aggressive - this interesting finding was later found out that attachment anxiety, regardless of gender and who initiated breakup, is more predictive of aggressive behaviour Regardless of who initiated breakup, anxious attachment shows significant +ve correlations with all protest rxns except for physically hurting the lost partner when they were the one who initiated breakup.

9 2. Preoccupation/ Exploration
H2a: breakups =  preoccupation in anxiously attached (p < .001) H2b:  preoccupation = interference of exploratory behaviour Emotional involvement = associated with  preoccupation & interference of exploratory behaviour (ps < .001) Exploratory behaviours such as school and work – meaning anxiously attached individuals have more disturbances in their daily functioning as a result of relationship dissolution

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

11 4. Resolution H4a: anxious attachment =  perseverance to reestablish relationship (p < .001) H4b: anxious attachment = lost sense of identity H4c: replacement of lost partner =  anxiously attached (p < .001); if self-initiated = +ve; partner initiated = -ve H4d: replacement of lost partner =  avoidantly attached (p < .001) regardless of initiation Lost sense of identity as a result of inability to redefine and reorganize the sense of self without their partner Thus, it appears that more anxious individuals either

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

13 Putting Humpty Back Together
Those who are more emotionally involved experience greater distress Anxious attachment: Preoccupation & perseverance interfere with functioning – exploratory behaviour, coping, disordered self-identity  motivation to reestablish relationship =  aggression Avoidant attachment – not as boring as once thought? Unique finding of more self-blame – important? Self-blame – more suppression but internalizing blame – this may lead to mental health issues such as depression, which they may not seek treatment for due to avoidance and self-reliance regardless who terminates

14 Limitations Future Direction Memory Recall
Correlational – not causation Presenting this study: 1. in 15(ish) minutes 2. Organization Examine longitudinally Different measures of attachment (e.g., AAI)  aggression in anxiously attached – examine gender perceptions & behaviours Verbal? Physical? Gender? Does attachment styles indeed affect reactions that we have seen presented today? Or could it be that the break up alters our attachment style, bringing out reactions that may not be truly characteristic of our attachment style ; however, there is no foundation to build a complete range of reverse effecrs

15 Talk to me. That’s all for now folks

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