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Interpersonal Reactions to Bereaved Parents: An Exploration of Attachment and Interpersonal Theories

Description: The experiment examined negative social reactions to bereaved parents from unrelated others. Both the behavior displayed by the parent and attachment style of the perceiver were expected to influence reactions to bereaved parents. Undergraduates at a southern university (N = 239) completed both attachment measures and measures of reactions to videotapes of bereaved parents. Results indicated that bereaved parents do indeed receive negative evaluations from unrelated others, in the form of decreased willingness to interact in various roles. However, a nonbereaved parent displaying depressive symptoms also received negative evaluations. Depressed targets in the present study did receive negative evaluations, supporting the predictions of Coyne's interpersonal-process theory of reactions to depressed individuals. Contrary to the predictions of interpersonal-process theory, a bereaved parent displaying loss content without depressive symptoms also elicited negative evaluations. Coyne's hypothesis that the amount of induced negative affect in the perceiver leads to negative evaluations was not supported by the data. Subjects appear to react to a complex set of factors when forming these evaluations, including both personal and situational information. Two factors may have undermined the present study s ability to adequately test this theory. Subjects may have perceived depressive symptoms in loss content in the present study. Further, subjects may not have identified with the parent in the present study as anticipated. Research is necessary to identify the amount and focus of subjects' identifications with depressed and bereaved targets. Only minor support was found for the prediction that attachment style would be related to reactions to bereaved parents. Continuous measures of attachment style were related to amount of induced negative affect. However, grouping subjects by attachment patterns was not related to either induced negative affect or evaluations. The present study and previous research suggest the possibility that conceptually attachment may contain several components which relate to ...
Date: June 1990
Creator: Wilhite, Thomas R. (Thomas Ray)

Transgenerational Patterns of Adult Attachment Relationships

Description: The purpose of the study is to examine adult attachment relationships among a group of college students and their parents. Two attachment hypotheses were tested: The mental model hypothesis for attachments with parents and romantic partners and the compensation hypothesis for attachment with God. Hypothesis 1 attempted to determine if there was agreement between parents and children about a self-reported attachment style. Support was found as students and parents had a significantly higher level of agreement when reporting a secure style of attachment between them, with sons being significantly highest. Hypothesis 2 examined agreement on attachment style between generations: Children's report of attachments to parents and parents' report of attachment to their parents. Results indicated that parents' reporting a secure style of attachment to their parents was significantly higher with their same gender parents. Hypothesis 3 produced two 15 x 15 correlation matrices including measures of romantic attachment and religiousness for children and parents. In general, further validity for measures used is provided in numerous expected correlations. Anxious and avoidant romantic attachment styles and desperate love were significantly positively related and were often negatively related to a secure style of attachment. Results indicate significant relationships between fathers' and children's (particularly daughters') romantic styles. The only significant correlation for mothers and sons was on religiousness; however, mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, as well as mothers and fathers were all significantly positively correlated on religiousness. Hypothesis 4 results indicated that when there was disagreement with fathers on attachment style, children scored higher on a measure of religiousness, supporting the compensation hypothesis. Hypothesis 5 found that children with secure attachments to both parents and mothers with high importance of religion also scored significantly higher on importance of religion, supporting the mental model hypothesis. Overall, this study suggests that the mental model and ...
Date: June 1996
Creator: Merck, Rhea Ann M.