Use Of Attachment Terms In Descriptions Of Partners As A Possible Marker Of Romantic Attachment Formation

dc.contributor.authorLaurita, Anne
dc.contributor.committeeMemberAnderson,Adam K.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberSpreng,Robert Nathan
dc.description.abstractMental representations of others in our world are presumed to be different in content and function throughout the process of relationship formation. The present research investigates the extent to which qualitative descriptions of romantic partner mental representations serve as markers of normative adult attachment formation. We conducted a multi-part study employing three methods-a brief online survey, an in-person interview, and an experimental manipulation. We collected data from 137 young adults in romantic relationships to compare partner versus familiar other mental representation descriptions between stressful versus neutral conditions. We hypothesized that mental representations of romantic partners-especially those who were also attachment figures-would be comprised of lengthier descriptions containing more attachmentlanguage than would those of familiar others. Furthermore, we predicted that this association would be more pronounced for participants primed with an upsetting autobiographical memory-those who might also demonstrate a recovery effect after describing their partners but not familiar others. Results showed greater use of attachment language for partner than familiar other and higher word count differential (between partner and familiar other) for those were attached to their partner. Additionally, we observed a significant increase in positive affect for those primed with an upsetting autobiographical memory, after thinking about their partners. A comprehensive linear model was fit using these variables and relationship length, to predict attachment status. The results underscore the importance of examining cognitive awareness of salient partner mental representations for understanding adult attachment formation. Keywords: adult attachment, mental representations, affect regulation
dc.identifier.otherbibid: 9333107
dc.subjectadult attachment
dc.subjectmental representations
dc.subjectaffect regulation
dc.titleUse Of Attachment Terms In Descriptions Of Partners As A Possible Marker Of Romantic Attachment Formation
dc.typedissertation or thesis Psychology University of Arts, Developmental Psychology


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