Physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions to breaking up:
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Physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions to breaking up: The roles of gender, age, emotional involvement, and attachment style . Davis, Shaver, & Vernon (2003). Introduction. Anxious attachment associated with negative physical & emotional responses upon relationship dissolution

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Davis shaver vernon 2003

Physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions to breaking up:The roles of gender, age, emotional involvement, and attachment style

Davis, Shaver, & Vernon (2003)


Introduction
Introduction up:

  • Anxious attachment associated with negative physical & emotional responses upon relationship dissolution

  • Few studies have examined behavioural responses & individual differences

  • PURPOSE: examine dysfunctional reactions to breakups among attachment styles

    • Distress/preoccupation

    • Ambivalent acting out

    • Coping & resolution


Adult attachment
Adult Attachment up:

Regulation of Distress

  • Secure

    • Adaptive coping

    • Understanding perspective

  • Avoidant

    • Fewer emotional expressions

    • Greater emotional avoidance

  • Anxious

    • ‘Coercive’ strategy

      • Aggression & Seduction


Attachment perspective on loss bowlby 1980
Attachment Perspective on Loss up:(Bowlby, 1980)

  • Protest

  • Despair

  • Reorganization/Reintegration

  • Individual difference in ‘disordered mourning’


Davis shaver vernon 2003

Examined Reactions up:

1. Protest & Distress

2. Preoccupation/Exploration

3. Coping Strategies

4. Resolution


Method
Method up:

  • Participants

    • n = 5,248 (64.4% female); age 15 – 50 (85.4% age 15 – 29)

  • Procedure

    • Internet based survey

  • Measures

    • Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR; Brennan et al., 1998)

    • Reactions to Breaking Up (author constructed; 72-item)

    • Demographics

      • (e.g., who terminated relationship, emotional involvement)

  • Analysis

    • Series of correlations & regressions


1 protest distress
1. Protest & Distress up:

  • Protest

    • Characteristic when threat to availability

    • Ambivalent acting out – ‘bipolar’ between desire ↔ hostility

  • Distress

    • Emotional & Physical

    • Lost interest in sex

    • Blame of loss

    • Guilt


1 protest distress1
1. Protest & Distress up:

  • H1a: Distress & protest rxns = +ve attachment anxiety

    • (ps < .001)

    • Anxious attachment =  aggression

  • H1b: Distress & protest rxns = -ve attachment avoidance

    • (ps < .001)

  • Emotional involvement associated with distress

    • (.05< ps < .001)

    • Strongest = emotional distress; weakest = self-blame

      • Avoidant = more self-blame (vs. partner blame)?


2 preoccupation exploration
2. Preoccupation/ Exploration up:

  • H2a: breakups =  preoccupation in anxiously attached

    • (p < .001)

  • H2b:  preoccupation = interference of exploratory behaviour

    • (p < .001)

  • Emotional involvement = associated with  preoccupation & interference of exploratory behaviour

    • (ps < .001)


3 coping strategies
3. Coping Strategies up:

  • H3: insecure attachment = maladaptive coping strategies

    • Anxious attachment = social coping (p < .001)

    • Avoidant attachment = self-reliance (p < .001)

  • Insecure attachment = alcohol & drug use (ps < .001)

  • Avoidance of partner:

    • Anxious = self-initiated termination (p < .001)

    • Avoidant = other-initiated termination (p < .001)

    •  emotional involvement


4 resolution
4. Resolution up:

  • H4a: anxious attachment =  perseverance to reestablish relationship

    • (p < .001)

  • H4b: anxious attachment = lost sense of identity

    • (p < .001)

  • H4c: replacement of lost partner =  anxiously attached

    • (p < .001); if self-initiated = +ve; partner initiated = -ve

  • H4d: replacement of lost partner = avoidantly attached

    • (p < .001) regardless of initiation


Descriptive results
Descriptive Results up:

  • Gender ≠ differences in attachment style

  • F = more emotionally involved

  • Person to initiate breakup:

    •  anxiety

    •  emotional involvement

    •  avoidance


Putting humpty back together
Putting Humpty Back Together up:

  • Those who are more emotionally involved experience greater distress

  • Anxious attachment:

    • Preoccupation & perseverance interfere with functioning – exploratory behaviour, coping, disordered self-identity

    •  motivation to reestablish relationship =  aggression

  • Avoidant attachment – not as boring as once thought?

    • Unique finding of more self-blame – important?


Davis shaver vernon 2003

Limitations up:

Future Direction

Examine longitudinally

Different measures of attachment (e.g., AAI)

 aggression in anxiously attached – examine gender perceptions & behaviours

Verbal? Physical? Gender?

  • Memory Recall

  • Correlational – not causation

  • Presenting this study:

    • 1. in 15(ish) minutes

    • 2. Organization