Associations between attachment and emotion-specific emotion regulation with and without relationship insecurity priming

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Clear, Sarah J
Zimmer-Gembeck, Melanie J
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2017
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Abstract

Attachment theory and previous research on emotion regulation (ER) suggest that ER will be associated with adult attachment orientation, with the expectation of different associations of attachment avoidance, anxiety, and security with specific ER patterns. In addition, research has shown that the emotion under consideration and the context may matter to patterns of ER and associations between attachment and ER. In the present study, we examined associations between attachment representations, and emotion specific (sadness, worry, and anger) ER among late adolescents and young adults aged 16 to 23 years (M = 19.6, SD = 1.58). In addition, to consider context, participants were randomly assigned to report ER following insecurity priming or no priming. Participants were 383 (181 male, 202 female) students who completed a self-report questionnaire. As expected, multivariate regression results examining all attachment orientations simultaneously showed that attachment anxiety was associated with greater dysregulation (sadness, worry, and anger), but also more anger suppression. In contrast, attachment avoidance was associated with greater suppression (sadness and worry), but also more anger dysregulation. Attachment security was associated with less dysregulation (sadness, worry, and anger), and less sadness and worry suppression. Finally, sadness and anger dysregulation were higher when reported after insecurity priming compared to the standard no prime condition, but few associations between attachment orientations and ER were moderated by condition. The results suggest that individuals’ attachment representations are associated with ER, with security a benefit to adaptive ER, and anxiety and avoidance playing different roles in maladaptive ER for different emotions.

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International Journal of Behavioral Development

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41

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1

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© 2017 International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.

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Psychology

Child and adolescent development

Clinical and health psychology

Cognitive and computational psychology

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