The relationship of attachment style to both the selection and efficacy of emotion management strategies in adult dyadic contexts is not well elucidated. In non-romantic contexts, the interplay between emotion management and individual attachment style may provide a better understanding of how affect can be mitigated in daily life. The present study investigated these interactions by studying 56 pairs of college age women who were close friends. Participants were asked to have a conversation about a current source of concern/distress to one partner, while seated in the laboratory. After the conversation, participants were asked to report their subjective experience of several emotions during the conversation, such as ‘sadness,’ ‘joy,’ and ‘fear.’ Participants were also asked to complete a questionnaire assessing adult attachment style, specifically attachment anxiety and avoidance. Behavior during the conversation was coded for co-rumination and co-cognitive reappraisal by the “listener.” Listener attachment insecurity showed a trending association with increased use of co-detached reappraisal, for both avoidance (p=0.14) and anxiety (p=0.14). Listener attachment insecurity also predicted lower use of co-rumination, for both anxiety (p=0.10) and avoidance (p=0.02). Speaker attachment insecurity moderated the relationship between co-detached reappraisal and speaker emotion. Greater co-detached reappraisal predicted higher reports of non-fear negative and positive emotions, but only for high-avoidance speakers. Greater co-detached reappraisal also predicted greater non-fear negative emotions among speakers high, but not low, on attachment anxiety. Greater listener use of co-positive reappraisal was associated with higher reports of speaker fear; this effect was not moderated by speaker attachment style. These findings are discussed in relation to theoretical conceptions of attachment style, and in terms of the impact of context on emotion.
- Attachment Style as a Moderator in Co-Regulation between Female Friends
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