Attachment and dyadic regulation processes

Nickola C. Overall, Jeffry A. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Insecurely attached people have relatively unhappy and unstable romantic relationships, but the quality of their relationships depends on how their partners regulate them. Some partners find ways to regulate the emotional and behavioral reactions of insecurely attached individuals, which promotes greater relationship satisfaction and security. We discuss attachment theory and interdependence dilemmas, and then explain how and why certain responses by partners assuage the cardinal concerns of insecure individuals in key interdependent situations. We then review recent studies illustrating how partners can successfully regulate the reactions of anxiously and avoidantly attached individuals, yielding more constructive interactions. We finish by considering how these regulation processes can create a more secure dyadic environment, which helps to improve relationships and attachment security across time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Some of the research cited in this article was supported by grants from the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund ( UOA0811 ) to Nickola C. Overall, and from the National Institute of Mental Health to Jeffry A. Simpson ( R01-MH49599 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


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