Proximity and distance goals in adult attachment

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Abstract

We used a variant of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and explicit reports to examine the assumption that attachment anxiety and avoidance are related to proximity and distance goals. Results confirmed that attachment avoidance was associated with a stronger implicit motivation for and positive evaluation of distance goals in attachment relationships. This was found both at the implicit and explicit levels and both in a threat and non-threat context. Attachment anxiety was associated with proximity goals only when measured explicitly, but not when goal activation was measured implicitly. Our findings highlight the importance of considering both implicit and explicit goal representations when studying motivational processes in the context of attachment, and suggest that the IAT can provide a useful tool for investigating implicit motivational constructs. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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