This article is based on a senior honors thesis by the first author under the supervision of the second author. Preparation of the article was facilitated by a Summer Research Grant to the second author from the College of William & Mary. We wish to thank three anonymous reviewers or their helpful comments on a previous draft of this manuscript.
Attachment style and presence of a romantic partner as moderators of psychophysiological responses to a stressful laboratory situation
Version of Record online: 20 MAY 2005
Volume 3, Issue 4, pages 351–367, December 1996
How to Cite
CARPENTER, E. M. and KIRKPATRICK, L. A. (1996), Attachment style and presence of a romantic partner as moderators of psychophysiological responses to a stressful laboratory situation. Personal Relationships, 3: 351–367. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.1996.tb00121.x
- Issue online: 20 MAY 2005
- Version of Record online: 20 MAY 2005
The effects of attachment style and presence of a romantic partner on psychophysiological responses to a stressful laboratory situation were examined in a sample of 34 college women involved in serious dating relationships. In two separate laboratory sessions, one with romantic partner present and one with partner absent, participants were led to anticipate a stressful situation. Heart rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels were recorded during baseline and stress periods in each condition. Significant three-way interactions showed that both avoidant and anxious participants in the partner-present condition evinced elevated psychophysiological responses to the stressor (relative to baseline), in contrast to these groups in the partner-absent condition and secure and nonanxious participants in both conditions. Findings are compared to those of previous research on attachment-style differences in proximity-seeking behavior in a similar laboratory situation, and they are interpreted in terms of the approach-avoidance conflict experienced by insecure people when faced with a stressful situation in the presence of their romantic partners.