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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Brenda Lundy- Jackson

Department/Program

Department of Psychology

Sponsor Department/Program

Department of Psychology

Abstract

In the child developmental literature, parental mind-mindedness (or parents' tendency to represent their child in terms of their mental processes) has been found to predict differences in attachment security (e.g., Laranjo, Bernier & Meins, 2008; Lundy, 2003). Secure infant attachment relationships appear to be associated with their parents' ability to consider their child's mental processes. Research looking at adults use of mind-mindedness in relation to their attachment representations of their significant other has not yet been conducted. It is plausible that, secure attachment representations in adults may be similarly linked to their ability to describe their significant others in terms of mental characteristics (compared to behavioral or physical characteristics). The present research examines the relationship between adults' attachment representations and the use of mental attributes to describe their current romantic partner. We hypothesized that individuals with secure attachments would provide more mental descriptors of their current romantic partners, while those with insecure representations were expected to use fewer mental (and more physical and behavioral) descriptors. We found a significant association between secure representations and the use of mental attributes to describe participant’s current romantic partner. Adults with fearful and preoccupied representations provided fewer mental comments and more behavioral descriptors. Adults' descriptions of romantic partners (mental versus behavioral or physical attributes) are significantly associated with attachment representations. This study suggests that mind-mindedness, interpreting the behavior of one’s significant other in terms of their mental states, is related to attachment representations. The findings suggest that adults' ability to connect with their romantic partner's mental processes may facilitate or be facilitated by their attachment representations.

Disciplines

Psychology

Do Attachments Predict How You Describe Your Romantic Partner?

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Psychology Commons

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