Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Across four studies, I examine links between attachment avoidance and emotion experience and expression. In Studies 1 & 2 participants reported on their experience and expression of nine emotions: happiness, gratitude, empathic happiness, sadness, embarrassment, hurt, guilt, anxiety, and empathic distress, with participants in Studies 3 additionally reporting on anger. Study 4 specifically examined links between avoidant attachment and the experience and expression of happiness. Special attention is paid to the link between attachment avoidance and the experience and expression of positive emotion, as this carries with it a host of important outcomes for relationships (Algoe, 2012; Fredrickson; 2001). In Chapter 1 I discuss a study in which I find that avoidant attachment is associated with less frequent experience of positive emotion and less frequent expression of positive and negative emotion when assessed retrospectively. In Chapter 2 I discuss a daily diary study in which I replicate this finding and additionally find a link between avoidant attachment and social anhedonia, the absence of pleasure derived from social interactions (Chapman, et al., 1976). In Chapter 3 I extend the findings discussed in Chapter 2 by including romantic dyads in a daily diary study. Again, I replicate results showing that greater avoidant attachment is associated with less frequent experience and expression of positive emotion. This chapter also assesses partner reports of emotions as well as the meta-perceptions avoidantly attached individuals have of their own and others’ emotions. Finally, in Chapter 4 I discuss a dyadic in-lab study in which I find that greater avoidant attachment is associated with lowered experience and expression of happiness during a discussion of a happy event in an actors’ own or their partner’s life. In sum, in this dissertation I provide substantive evidence that avoidantly attached individuals are experiencing and expressing less positive emotion across different social contexts and timescales.
Adkins, Chance, "Avoiding more than Intimacy: Avoidant Attachment and the Avoidance of Positive Emotions" (2022). Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dissertations. 549.