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Adult Romantic Attachment Feeney, J. A. (1999). Adult romantic attachment and couple relationships. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment:

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Presentation on theme: "Adult Romantic Attachment Feeney, J. A. (1999). Adult romantic attachment and couple relationships. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Adult Romantic Attachment Feeney, J. A. (1999). Adult romantic attachment and couple relationships. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp ). New York: Guilford Press.

2 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson The First Studies of Romantic Love as Attachment  Theorists suggested that aspects of attachment in childhood were likely to be transferred to romantic and peer relationships:  proximity maintenance and resistance to separation;  presence of a secure base;  safe haven associated with an attachment figure  Inner working models were expected to influence relationships in later life.

3 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Early Studies of Adult Romantic Attachment  Conceptualizing Love and Attachment: There seems to be correspondence between romantic attachment and love style  Secure romantic attachment corresponds to eros and agape. è High on intimacy, passion and commitment. è High on self-confidence, low on avoidance of intimacy, low on neurotic love.  Avoidant romantic attachment corresponds to ludus. è Low on intimacy, passion and commitment. è Low on self-confidence, high on avoidance of intimacy, low on neurotic love.  Ambivalent romantic attachment corresponds to mania è Low on intimacy, passion and commitment. è Low on self-confidence, low on avoidance of intimacy, high on neurotic love.

4 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Early Studies of Adult Romantic Attachment (cont.)  Affect Regulation with Peers and Romantic Partners  Secure attachment seems to be associated with greater frequency of positive emotions and lower frequency of negative emotions than other attachment styles.  After relationships end, avoidant attachment seems to be associated with the lowest distress. Ambivalent attachment seems to be associated with surprise and upset.  Salience of Attachment Issues to Perceptions of Romantic Relationships  Participants who talked about their relationships in unstructured interviews, spontaneously mentioned attachment issues suggesting that it is a significant part of relationships.  There were differences between attachment style and description of current relationship (e.g., secure attachment was associated with descriptions of mutual support).

5 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Advances in Conceptualization and Measurement  From Forced Choice to Multiple-Item Measures  A Four-Group Model of Adult Attachment (Figure 17.1 on p. 361)

6 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Romantic Attachment Style, Working Models, and Relationship Quality  Stability of Adult Attachment and Working Models  Multidimensional influences.  Working models are influenced by significance of experience, emotions, and cognitions.  The Role of Communication: conflict resolution strategies, self-disclosure, quality of daily interactions seem to be influenced adult romantic attachment style.  Effects of Partners’ Attachment Style: communication and relationship quality seem to be influenced by both personal and partner attachment style.

7 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Romantic Attachment Style and Relationship Quality (cont.)  Relationship Quality: Integrating Attachment, Caregiving, and Sexuality  Attachment and caregiving: adult romantic attachment style seems to influence quality of support and responsiveness in intimate relationships.  Attachment and sexuality: adult romantic attachment style seems to influence attitudes about sexuality (e.g., avoidant romantic attachment is associated with more accepting attitudes of casual sex).  Attachment Style and Couple Relationship under Stress  Stressful Environmental Conditions: emotional response and adult romantic attachment style interact in response to crises.  Conditions Threatening the Attachment Relationship è Proximity (absence of partner discouragement). è Relationship conflict.


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