(2) read it, (3) summarize it, and (4) critique it in a two-
page double spaced report.The goal of this assignment is for you to read and evaluate communication research. While
you are not expected to have a deep understanding of research methods, you should be able to
read the author’s argument and critique it based on common sense and logic.
FORMAT: Your critique should be in APA style (no abstract or cover page is necessary) and at
least 2 double-spaced pages of writing (see OWL Purdue for APA help). As a reminder,
headers do not count toward your page requirement.
CONTENT OF THE CRITIQUE:
Briefly explain how this study is related to communication
Summarize what the study is about
Summarize the strengths of the article
Summarize the weaknesses of the article
Conclude with your final opinion of the article —————————-NEXT—————————Some areas to consider (you don’t have to use these, but they may help you start thinking):
How were the participants recruited?
How did the researchers interact with the participants?
What do you think about their study design? What could they do better? What did you
What do you think about their findings? Are they realistic?
Where was the research done? What locations might be better?
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Unformatted Attachment Preview
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1990, Vol. 59, No. 5,971-980
Copyright 1990 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.
Influence of Attachment Styles on Romantic Relationships
Jeffry A. Simpson
Texas A&M University
This investigation examined the impact of secure, anxious, and avoidant attachment styles on
romantic relationships in a longitudinal study involving 144 dating couples. For both men and
women, the secure attachment style was associated with greater relationship interdependence,
commitment, trust, and satisfaction than were the anxious or avoidant attachment styles. The
anxious and avoidant styles were associated with less frequent positive emotions and more frequent
negative emotions in the relationship, whereas the reverse was true of the secure style. Six-month
follow-up interviews revealed that, among those individuals who disbanded, avoidant men experienced significantly less post-dissolution emotional distress than did other people.
In recent years, a growing number of researchers have become interested in the processes by which people develop,
maintain, and dissolve affectional bonds within close relationships (see Bretherton, 1985; Clark & Reis, 1988). Empirical research in this area was spawned by the pioneering theoretical
work of John Bowlby (1969,1973,1980), who sought to determine how and why infants become emotionally attached to
their primary caregivers and why they often experience emotional distress when physically separated from them.
Bowlby identified a clear sequence of three emotional reactions that typically occur following the separation of an infant
from its primary caregiver: protest, despair, and detachment.
Given the remarkably reliable nature of this sequence across a
variety of different species, Bowlby developed a theory of attachment grounded in evolutionary principles. Specifically, he
argued that an attachment system composed of specific behavioral and emotional propensities designed to keep infants in
close physical proximity to their primary caregivers might have
been selected during evolutionary history. By remaining in
close contact with caregivers who could protect them from
danger and predation, infants who possessed these attachment
propensities would have been more likely to survive to reproductive age, reproduce, and subsequently pass these propensities on to future generations.
Empirical research examining tenets of Bowlby’s theory has
focused mainly on different styles or patterns of attachment in
young children. Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall (1978) have
identified three primary attachment styles: anxious/ambivalent
This research was supported by a grant from the Computing Services Center at Texas A&M University. I thank Lana Aron, Sheri Baker,
Holly Bogart, Debbie Grudrein, Mindy Hall, Lisa Hutchins, Jim Lyon,
Paul Nicholai, Karen Owens, Faith Short, Sarah Sloan, Nicole Streetman, and Richard Williams for their assistance in Phase 2 of this study.
I extend a special thanks to Margaret Lerma for her invaluable assistance in both phases of this research. Finally, thanks go to Steven W
Gangestad, Caryl Rusbult, and several anonymous reviewers for their
helpful feedback on earlier versions of the manuscript.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to
Jeffry A. Simpson, Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University,
College Station, Texas 77843.
(characteristic of infants who intermix attachment behaviors
with overt expressions of protest and anger toward the primary
caregiver when distressed), avoidant (characteristic of infants
who avoid the caregiver and exhibit signs of detachment when
distressed), and secure (characteristic of infants who successfully use the caregiver as a secure base when distressed).
During social development, people presumably construct internal affective/cognitive models both of themselves and of typical patterns of interaction with significant others (e.g., Ainsworth et al, 1978; Bowlby, 1973; Main et al, 1985). These mental models are believed to organize the development of
personality and to guide subsequent social behavior. People
who possess a secure attachment style tend to develop mental
models of themselves as being friendly, good-natured, and likable and of significant others as being generally well intentioned, reliable, and trustworthy. Those who display an anxious
style tend to develop models of themselves as being misunderstood, unconndent, and underappreciated and of significant
others as being typically unreliable and either unwilling or unable to commit themselves to permanent relationships. And
those who have an avoidant style typically develop models of
themselves as being suspicious, aloof, and skeptical and of significant others as being basically unreliable or overly eager to
commit themselves to relationships. A growing body of empirical research has documented the existence ofthese mental models in adults (Collins & Read, 1990; Feeney & Noller, 1990;
Hazan & Shaver, 1987).
Recent research has begun to explore whether an individual’s
attachment history might influence his or her attachment style
toward romantic partners during adulthood (e.g., Collins &
Read, 1990; Feeney & Noller, 1990; Hazan & Shaver, 1987; Kobak & Sceery, 1988; Main et al, 1985). On the basis of descriptions of the behavioral and emotional characteristics of avoidantly, securely, and anxiously attached children provided by
Ainsworth et al. (1978), Hazan and Shaver (1987) developed a
single-item, self-report measure of attachment style adapted to
adult romantic relationships. Individuals are asked to indicate
which one of the three attachment styles best characterizes
their general orientation toward romantic involvements. Securely attached people indicate that they find it relatively easy
JEFFRY A. SIMPSON
to get close to others, are comfortable depending on others and
having others depend on them, and don’t worry about being
abandoned or about someone becoming too emotionally close
to them. Avoidantly attached people indicate that they are uncomfortable being close to others, find it difficult to completely
trust and depend on others, and are nervous when anyone gets
too close. Anxiously attached people indicate that they find
others are reluctant to get as close as they would like, frequently
worry that their romantic partners don’t really love them or
won’t remain with them, and often want to become extremely
close to their partners.
The study of individual differences in attachment styles is
likely to contribute significantly to our understanding of why
close relationships vary in both their quality and their interpersonal nature (Shaver, Hazan, & Bradshaw, 1988). On the basis of
previous theory (e.g, Bowlby, 1969,1973,1979,1980) and research (e.g, Ainsworth et al, 1978; Hazan & Shaver, 1987) concerning attachment processes, several hypotheses can be generated about the nature and emotional quality of romantic relationships possessed by people who exhibit different attachment
Hypotheses Concerning Nature of the Relationship
Considering the different types of mental models they harbor, people who exhibit secure, avoidant, and anxious attachment styles should be involved in different kinds of romantic
relationships (Bowlby, 1973,1980). People who exhibit a secure
style should gravitate toward and develop stable, supportive relationships in which relatively high levels of trust, interdependence, commitment, and satisfaction are evident, whereas
those who display an avoidant style should develop emotionally
distant relationships defined by lower levels of trust, interdependence, commitment, and satisfaction. People who manifest
an anxious style ought to exhibit considerable ambivalence toward their romantic partners. Even though they may yearn to
develop stable, supportive relationships, their insecurity about
the stability of relationships in general should preclude them
from developing relationships characterized by high levels of
trust, commitment, interdependence, and satisfaction.
Collins and Read (1990) recently provided preliminary evidence suggesting that certain attachment styles do covary with
measures of trust, satisfaction, and quality of communication
in established relationships. To date, however, no one has examined whether different attachment styles may precipitate different levels of interdependence and commitment, two of the most
important global dimensions underlying relationship development and everyday functioning (Kelley, 1983).
Hypotheses Concerning Emotions Experienced
Within the Relationship
According to attachment theory (Bowlby, 1973), people who
possess secure, avoidant, and anxious attachment styles should
develop relationships that systematically differ in their emotional tone. Several emotion theorists (e.g., Berscheid, 1983;
Block, 1957; Davitz, 1969) suggest that two major dimensions
underlie the experience of emotions: magnitude of affect (intense vs. mild) and hedonic sign of affect (positive vs. negative).
To the extent that they develop interdependent; committed,
and trusting relationships, people who display a secure attachment style should be involved in emotionally pleasant relationships characterized by frequent occurrences of mild and intense
positive emotion and by less frequent occurrences of mild and
intense negative emotion (cf. Berscheid, 1983). In view of their
tendency to eschew intimacy and commitment and to maintain
guarded emotional distance from their romantic partners, people who exhibit an avoidant attachment style should experience
the opposite pattern of emotions.1 And given the uncertainty
they harbor concerning the stability and dependability of their
relationships, people who manifest an anxious style also should
be involved in affectively unpleasant relationships.
Hypotheses Concerning Emotional Distress Following
Ainsworth et al. (1978) revealed that securely, anxiously, and
avoidantly attached children display different emotional reactions following separation from adult caregivers. Although all
children tend to experience the same sequence of basic responses (protest, despair, and detachment), avoidant children
typically express extreme levels of detachment (reflected in
emotional and behavioral withdrawal) when separated from
caregivers, whereas anxious children often exhibit extreme levels of protest and anger. Hence, according to attachment theory
(Bowlby, 1973,1979), adults who exhibit avoidant attachment
styles toward romantic partners should experience less emotional distress following relationship dissolution, and those
who manifest anxious styles should experience more intense
This latter prediction, however, requires some qualification.
Past research has shown that people involved in close, interdependent relationships typically experience stronger emotional
distress following relationship termination (Simpson, 1987).
Despite the fact that anxiously attached people yearn for extreme levels of commitment and emotional closeness, they may
not necessarily experience pronounced distress following relationship dissolution if their relationships possess less desirable
qualities. Moreover, even though securely attached people are
likely to be involved in relationships characterized by more
desirable attributes, the positive nature of their mental models
should buffer them from excessive distress after dissolution (cf.
To test these hypotheses, 144 dating couples were studied
longitudinally. During Phase 1, participants responded to a series of measures that served as indicators of the amount of
trust, interdependence, commitment, and satisfaction that existed in their current relationship. They also reported how frequently each of 28 different emotions were experienced within
‘ Avoidant people might experience emotions less frequently in their
relationships. Although the avoidant style is characterized by behavior
indicative of interpersonal detachment, it also is characterized by the
presence of and potential for frequent negative emotions (Ainsworth,
Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Kobak & Sceery, 1988). Thus, despite the
fact that avoidant people may appear to have emotionally quiescent
relationships, they should be susceptible to experiencing frequent negative affect.
the relationship. Six months later, as part of Phase 2, couples
were contacted by telephone to determine whether they were
still dating and, if not, how much emotional distress each
partner experienced following the breakup.
Phase 1 Data Collection
Participants and Procedure
having others depend on me,” (d) “I rarely worry about being abandoned by others,” (e) “I don’t like people getting too close to me,” (f)
“I’m somewhat uncomfortable being too close to others,” (g) “I find it
difficult to trust others completely,” (h) “I’m nervous whenever anyone
gets too close to me,” (i) “Others often want me to be more intimate
than I feel comfortable being,” (j) “Others often arereluctantto get as
close as I would like,” (k) “I often worry that my partners) don’t really
love me,” (1) “I rarely worry about my partner® leaving me,” and (m) “I
often want to merge completely with others, and this desire sometimes
scares them away.” Items a-e were taken from Hazan and Shaver’s
“secure” vignette description. Items f-i and j – m were taken from the
“avoidant” and “anxious/ambivalent” vignettes, respectively.
Interdependence measures. Given that interdependence is a multidimensional construct (Berscheid, 1985), three conceptually related
yet empirically distinct measures were used to assess it: Rubin’s Love
Scale (Rubin, 1970), the Dependency Scale (Fei & Berscheid, 1977),
and the Self-Disclosure Scale (Miller, Berg, & Archer, 1983). For all
three scales, Cronbach’s alpha exceeded .85. Internal analyses revealed
that all three measures were highly correlated (for both men and
women, rs ranged from .53 to .87). Moreover, principal-axis factor
analyses conducted separately on men and women indicated that all
three measures loaded highly on the same factor (for both men and
women, all factor loadings exceeded .64).
Commitment measures. Commitment tends to be reflected in both
avowed intentions to remain in a relationship as well as in extrinsic and
intrinsic investments made within it (Kelley, 1983). Two measures,
therefore, were used to assess commitment: the Commitment Scale
(Lund, 1985) and the Investment Scale (Rusbult, 1980). For each scale,
Cronbach’s alpha exceeded .83. Internal analyses indicated that these
two measures were highly correlated (for men, r = .82; for women,
Trust measures. Trust in a romantic partner tends to be a multidimensional construct consisting of at least three components: predictAttachment style measures. Attachment style was measured by havability, dependability, and faith (Rempel, Holmes, & Zanna, 1985).
ing both members of each dyad rate 13 sentences contained within the
Insecurity also may play a critical role in the formation and developHazan and Shaver (1987) adult attachment measure on Likert-type
ment of trust in relationships (Berscheid & Fei, 1977). Accordingly,
scales. Even though Hazan and Shaver’s attachment measure was develtrust was assessed by two sets of measures: the Trust Scale (which
oped according to descriptions of avoidantly, securely, and anxiously
consists of three subscales: predictability, dependability, and faith;
attached infants provided by Ainsworth et al. (1978), the measure posRempel et al., 1985) and the Insecurity Scale (Fei & Berscheid, 1977).
sesses some unfortunate psychometric properties (see Hazan & Shaver,
For each of the trust subscales, Cronbach’s alpha exceeded .70. For the
1987; Hendrick & Hendrick, 1989). First, people classify themselves as
Insecurity Scale, Cronbach’s alpha was .83. Internal analyses revealed
belonging to one of three mutually exclusive attachment categories
that all four measures correlated highly (for both men and women, rs
without indicating the extent to which the chosen category characterranged from .41 to .74). Furthermore, principal-axis factor analyses
izes them. As a result, meaningful individual difference variability
separately on men and women indicated that all four meathat exists within each category cannot be assessed. Second, this catesures loaded highly on the same factor (for both men and women, all
gorical classification method assesses an individual’s standing on only
factor loadings exceeded 60).
one attachment style despite the fact that some adults may be best
Satisfaction measure. Satisfaction was assessed by an 11 -item, facecharacterized as a blend of two or more styles. Third, this method of
valid measure of satisfaction with the partner on 11 different dimenclassification places severe limits on the types of statistical analyses
sions (e.g., attractiveness, loyalty, kindness, similarity of values; Simpthat can be conducted. Fourth, this method does not allow one to
son, 1987). Cronbach’s alpha was .82.
determine the internal reliability of each style. Finally, measurement of
individual differences in adults traditionally has focused on linear
Frequency ofEmotion Index. Participants indicated how often they
relations between multiple-item measures designed to assess specific,
experienced each of 28 different emotions within their current relacontinuously distributed constructs (Jackson, 1971). Instances in
tionship. Each emotion was rated on 7-point Likert-type scales, rangwhich discrete classes underlie adult individual differences are rare.
ing from never (1) to very often (7). The 28 emotions used were selected
so that all four major quadrants presumed to underlie the experience
Accordingly, the three Hazan and Shaver (1987) attachment viof emotions—intense positive emotion, mild positive emotion, intense
gnettes were decomposed into 13 individual sentences, each of which
negative emotion, and mild negative emotion—were represented.
was responded to on a 7-point Likert-type scale, ranging from strongly
disagree (1) to strongly agree (7). To control for acquiescence response Seven emotions tapped the intense positive quadrant: excited, elated,
surprised, joyful, happy, delighted, and passionate. Seven tapped the
biases, 3 sentences were worded in a negative direction. In addition,
mild positive quadrant: calm, needed, serene, satisfied, wanted/cared
slight alterations in wording designed to reduce item-response diffifor, content, and optimistic. Seven assessed the intense negative quadculty were made for 2 sentences. Participants rated the following items
rant: angry, fearful, jealous, irritated, hostile, distressed, and disaccording to how they typically felt toward romantic partners in gengusted. And seven assessed the mild negative quadrant: rejected, sad,
eral: (a) “I find itrelativelyeasy to get close to others,” (b) “I’m not very
guilty, worried, disappointed, depressed, and lonely.
comfortable having to depend on other people,” (c) “I’m comfortable
One hundred and forty-four dating couples (144 men and 144
women), at least one member of whom was enrolled in introductory
psychology at Texas A&M University, participated in this investigation. The mean age of men and women was 19.4 and 18.7 years, respectively. Mean length of dating relationship was 13.5 months. Over 92% of
the couples had dated for more than 1 month.
Couples reported to a large experimental room in groups of 5 to 15.
The experimenter told participants they would be asked to complete
an initial questionnaire survey that inquired about their dating relationship. She then passed out the survey in number-coded packets so
that each dyad could be identified later for purposes of data analysis.
The experimenter guaranteed that all responses would be confidential
and that they would not be revealed to anyone, including dating
partners. Couples then were physically separated to ensure that they
could not communicate while completing the survey.
JEFFRY A. SIMPSON
Phase 2 Data Collection
Participants and Procedure
Approximately 6 months later, several attempts were made to contact all participants by telephone. Both members of 132 dyads (91.67%)
were successfully reached. Telephone interviewers first determined
whether the couple was still dating. According to independent reports
provided by both partners, 48 couples (36.36% of those contacted) no
longer were dating. These people then responded to a telephone survey
that assessed the extent of emotional distress they experienced following relationship dissolution.
Intensity and Duration of Emotioned Distress Index. The intensity
and duration of emotional distress was assessed by a six-item index
(Simpson, 1987). Three items assessed the intensity of distress: (a) “Immediately after the breakup, how difficult was it for you to make an
emotional adjustment,” (b) “Immediately after the breakup occurred,
to what extent did it disrupt your typical, everyday functioning and
routine,” and (c) “How upset were you immediately after the breakup?”
Participants responded to these three items on 7-point scales, ranging
from not at all (1) to a great deal/extremely (7). Three items assessed the
duration of distress: (d) “How long did it take you to make an emotional adjustment following the breakup,” (e) “How long were you upset after the breakup,” and (f) “How long did the breakup disrupt your
typical, everyday functioning and routine?” Participants responded to
these three items on 8-point scales, ranging from no time at all (1) to
more than 2 months (8). All six items were then aggregated to form a
single, more reliable index (Cronbach’s alpha=.91). Higher scores indicated greater distress.
Additional items. Participants also answered two additional questions: “When (during the 6-month period) did you stop dating this
person,” and “Who initiated the breakup: you, both you and your
partner, or your partner?”
Construction of Attachment Indexes
To construct continuous measures of each attachment style,
the items corresponding to each vignette were identified, keyed
in the proper direction, and aggregated to form three continuous attachment indexes. The Secure Attachment Style Index
was constructed by aggregating Items a through e (Cronbach’s
alpha = .51). Higher scores reflected greater security. The
Avoidant Attachment Style Index was developed by aggregating
Items f through i (Cronbach’s alpha = .79). Higher scores indicated greater avoidance. The Anxious Attachment Style Index
was created by aggregating Items j through m. Higher scores
reflected greater anxiousness (Cronbach’s alpha = .59).2
Relations Among Attachment Indexes
All three indexes were then correlated both within and between men and women. As reported in Table 1, within each sex,
scores on the Secure Attachment Style Index were somewhat
negatively correlated with those on the Anxious Attachment
Style Index, indicating that greater security was associated with
slightly less anxiousness. Scores on the secure index were very
negatively correlated with those on the avoidant index, so that
greater security was indicative of less avoidance. For men, there
was no relation between scores on the avoidant and anxious
indexes. For women, however, a slight positive relation emerged
between these two styles, so that women who possessed an
avoidant style tended to be somewhat more anxious.
At the level of the dyad, two statistically reliable effects
emerged. Men who scored higher on the anxious attachment
index were involved with female dating partners who scored
somewhat lower on the secure index. Moreover, men who
scored higher on the avoidant index were dating women who
scored somewhat higher on the anxious index. Two marginally
reliable effects also emerged: Women who scored higher on the
secure index were dating men who scored lower on the avoidant
index, and women who scored lower on the anxious index were
dating men who scored higher on the secure index. By and
large, the dyadic effects were relatively small in magnitude.
Attachment and Relationship Indexes:
Because the measures designed to assess interdependence,
commitment, and trust correlated highly within each domain,
composite indexes were constructed to provide more reliable
estimates of the strength of association between each domain
and the three attachment styles. Once all scales were keyed in
the proper direction, each measure was transformed into a
common metric (through z-score transformation) within the
sexes. Measures designed to tap each domain were then aggregated to form more reliable, composite indexes of each dimension. As reported in Table 2, correlations between these composite indexes and the three attachment styles revealed that people
who scored higher on the secure attachment index indicated
that they were involved in relationships characterized by
greater interdependence (reflected in greater love for, dependency on, and self-disclosure with the partner), greater commitment (evidenced by greater commitment to and investment
in the relationship), greater trust (reflected in the greater predictability of, dependability of, and faith in the partner and in
lower levels of insecurity in the relationship), and greater satisfaction. Conversely, people who scored higher on the avoidant
index reported that they were involved in relationships defined
by lesser amounts of interdependence, commitment, trust, and
Men who scored higher on the anxious index indicated that
Factor analyses also were performed on all 13 attachment items.
Within both men and women, two factors emerged. The first factor
appeared to tap a secure-avoidant dimension. The second factor appeared to tap an anxious-nonanxious dimension. Given that the general pattern of findings did not differ depending on whether two or
three attachment styles were examined (see footnote 3) and in view of
strong theoretical reasons for attempting to identify three distinct attachment styles, results are reported for all three attachment indexes.
Note, however, that the secure and anxious indexes were somewhat less
reliable than was the avoidant one. Because scales that possess lower
reliabilities yield more attenuated effects, all comparisons of effect
sizes between the three attachment indexes must be made bearing
their differential reliabilities in mind.
in Table 2 continued to be reliable once relationship length was
Pearson Product-Moment Correlations
for Three Attachment Styles
Note. n= 144 women and n = 144 men. Data is presented for correlations within each sex and within the dyads. Critical value at alpha = .05
is .17 (two-tailed). MSEC = secure attachment style: men; MANX =
anxious attachment style: men; MAVD = avoidant attachment style:
men, FSEC = secure attachment style: women; FANX = anxious attachment style: women; FAVD = avoidant attachment style: women.
they were involved in relationships characterized by less trust
and less satisfaction. Effects for interdependence and commitment were marginally significant. Women who scored higher
on the anxious index reported being involved in relationships
denned by less commitment and less trust. Effects for interdependence and satisfaction, although in the anticipated direction, were not reliable. Zero-order correlations between the
three attachment styles and the specific measures used to assess
interdependence, commitment, and trust corroborate these
To ensure that these results were not attributable to systematic differences in length of relationship, relationship length
was partialed out of all correlations between the three styles
and the four composite indexes. All significant effects reported
Attachment and Relationship Indexes:
An examination of dyadic effects (i.e, correlating each male’s
attachment style scores with his female partner’s standing on
each indicator of interdependence, commitment, trust, and satisfaction and vice versa) revealed several reliable within-dyad
effects. As displayed in Table 3, men who scored higher on the
secure index tended to be involved with female partners who
were less insecure. Men who scored higher on the anxious index
tended to be dating women who reported less interdependence
and less commitment. And men who scored higher on the
avoidant index tended to be dating women who reported less
trust, greater insecurity, and less satisfaction.
As presented in Table 4, women who scored higher on the
secure index were dating men who reported greater commitment to the relationship and less insecurity in the relationship.
Women who scored higher on the anxious index were involved
with men who reported less interdependence, less commitment, and less satisfaction. And women who scored higher on
the avoidant index were dating men who reported less commitment, less trust, and greater insecurity.
Attachment and Frequency of Emotion:
To assess the emotional nature of the relationships of people
who exhibited secure, anxious, and avoidant attachment styles,
four composite subscales representing each of the four emotion
Pearson Product-Moment Correlations Between Attachment Styles and Indicators
of Interdependence, Commitment, Trust, and Satisfaction
Note. « = 144 men and n = 144 women. All correlations are two-tailed.
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