Functions Of Attachment In Everyday Adult Life: Affect Regulation, Work, And Well-Being

Other Titles


Three papers investigate the role of adult attachment relationships in affect regulation, quality of work experience, and physical and psychological well-being. The first paper examines the effect of activating mental representations of attachment figures (mother or romantic partner) on affective recovery following an upsetting autobiographical memory recall. Three experiments show that activating the mental representation of an attachment figure (vs. an acquaintance or a stranger) enhances recovery by reducing negative affect and negative thinking. Moreover, a meta-analysis of the three experiments revealed that avoidant attachment was associated with reduced recovery effects. Finally, the magnitude of affective recovery due to activating the romantic partner representation predicted psychological and physical health in daily life. Although these experimental findings indicate that romantic attachments lead to better affect regulation as well as mental and physical health, receiving support from a romantic partner in daily life has sometimes been linked to worse outcomes. The second paper investigates the circumstances under which received partner support is or is not harmful for physical health. Findings from a 10-year longitudinal study revealed that perceived partner responsiveness moderates the association between received partner support and all-cause mortality. For participants who perceived their partners as unresponsive, received partner support was indeed associated with an increase in all-cause mortality risk, even after controlling for demographic factors, initial health status, health behaviors, psychological well-being, and personality traits. However, this association was eliminated if the romantic partner was perceived as responsive. Finally, the third paper investigates the association between perceived partner responsiveness and quality of work in two daily experience studies. Perceived partner responsiveness was associated with increased quality of daily work experience which, in turn, predicted greater daily goal progress among young adults and greater life satisfaction among middle-aged and older adults. Furthermore, daily stress exposure was associated with lower decline in quality of work for individuals who perceived their partners as responsive, indicating that perceived partner responsiveness buffers against the detrimental effects of daily stress on quality of work. Taken together, the three papers contribute to our growing understanding of the role of attachment relationships in adult functioning.

Journal / Series

Volume & Issue



Date Issued




Close relationships; Adult attachment; Well-being


Effective Date

Expiration Date




Union Local


Number of Workers

Committee Chair

Hazan, Cynthia
Hazan, Cynthia

Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Zayas, Vivian
Depue, Richard Allen
Zayas, Vivian

Degree Discipline

Developmental Psychology

Degree Name

Ph. D., Developmental Psychology

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

Related Version

Related DOI

Related To

Related Part

Based on Related Item

Has Other Format(s)

Part of Related Item

Related To

Related Publication(s)

Link(s) to Related Publication(s)


Link(s) to Reference(s)

Previously Published As

Government Document




Other Identifiers


Rights URI


dissertation or thesis

Accessibility Feature

Accessibility Hazard

Accessibility Summary

Link(s) to Catalog Record