Getting over you: Contributions of attachment theory for postbreakup emotional adjustment

Authors

  • CHRISTOPHER P. FAGUNDES

    Corresponding author
    1. The Ohio State University College of Medicine
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Christopher P. Fagundes, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, The Ohio State University College of Medicine.


  • This research study was supported by the Clayton Research Fellowship for Graduate Student Excellence at the University of Utah. I gratefully acknowledge Susan Vecchi, Anna Adams, Kendrick Allen, Nick Ward, Kyle Murdock, Dylan Camp, Lina Ramirez, Jon Butner, and Lisa Diamond for their assistance with this project. Selected findings from this study were presented at the 2008 biennial meeting of the International Association for Relationship Research, Providence, Rhode Island, and the 2008 annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Christopher P. Fagundes, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, The Ohio State University, 460 Medical Center Drive, Room 144B, Columbus, OH 43210, e-mail: christopher.fagundes@gmail.com.

Abstract

This study used an attachment theoretical framework to identify factors that contribute to postbreakup emotional adjustment. Individuals who recently experienced a breakup were examined twice over a 1-month period. Greater desire to utilize an ex-partner as an attachment figure predicted less emotional adjustment. Higher levels of attachment anxiety were associated with less emotional adjustment immediately after the breakup. People who reflected more about the breakup exhibited less emotional adjustment immediately after the breakup compared to people who reflected less, and also less emotional adjustment over the ensuing month if they also reported more attachment anxiety. The article highlights the importance of normative attachment processes, in addition to attachment orientations and coping strategies, for understanding postbreakup adjustment.

Ancillary