Attachment and anger in an anxiety-provoking situation

W. Steven Rholes, Jeffry A. Simpson, M. Minda Oriña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


In this study, women were told they would engage in an anxiety-provoking activity. Women then waited with their dating partner for the activity to begin. During this 5-min "stress" period, each couple's interaction was videotaped unobtrusively. Each couple was then told that the woman would not have to do the stressful activity, and each couple was unobtrusively videotaped again during a 5-min "recovery" period. The behavior of both partners was then coded during both periods. The major results revealed that more-avoidant men displayed greater anger during the stress period, especially if their partners were more anxious or distressed or sought more support from them. More-avoidant women also displayed greater anger, particularly if they were highly anxious or distressed and received little support or encountered anger from their partners. During the recovery period, highly ambivalent women behaved more negatively toward their partners if they had been more anxious in the stress period or had sought more support from their partners. These results are discussed in terms of attachment theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)940-957
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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