Why do people sacrifice to approach rewards versus to avoid costs? Insights from attachment theory

Authors

  • EMILY A. IMPETT,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of California, Berkeley
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    • Emily A. Impett, Institute of Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley; Amie M. Gordon, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.

  • AMIE M. GORDON

    1. University of California, Berkeley
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    • Emily A. Impett, Institute of Personality and Social Research, University of California, Berkeley; Amie M. Gordon, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley.


  • This work has been funded by the Templeton Advanced Research Program, sponsored by the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science, with the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation. A.M.G. was funded by a predoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation. We would like to thank Katie Bishop, Renee Delgado, and Laura Tsang for assistance with data collection.

Emily A. Impett, University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Personality and Social Research, Berkeley, CA 94720-5050, e-mail: eimpett@gmail.com.

Abstract

This research provides the first empirical investigation of how attachment orientations contribute to approach and avoidance goals for engaging in sacrifice. Study 1 is a cross-sectional study of individuals in dating relationships, and Study 2 is a 14-day daily experience study of dating couples. Results showed that attachment anxiety was associated with a greater frequency of sacrifice and more willingness to sacrifice for approach goals (particularly self-focused goals) and avoidance goals. Attachment avoidance was associated with a lower frequency of sacrifice, less willingness to sacrifice for approach goals (particularly partner-focused goals), and more willingness to sacrifice for avoidance goals (both self- and partner-focused). Daily sacrifice goals were also associated with the partner's attachment orientation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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