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Exploring the Relationship Between Hurtful Messages and Partner Attachment
Unformatted Document Text:  Hurt and Attachment 11 interesting to examine how the degree of hurt reported may vary by the different attachment styles. One might expect that individuals with secure attachments to their partners are hurt more by HMs exhibited by their partners because they occur less often; thus, when HMs do occur, they may be more novel and salient to a secure. In contrast, for the same reason (i.e., infrequency) secures may report less hurt by HMs; due to secures’ high self-worth and trust in others, they may believe their partners had no negative motives underlying the HMs. Dismissive-avoidants likely report less hurt when experiencing an HM. Avoidants, by definition, distance themselves from their partners in order to prevent being hurt or abandoned. In a way, avoidants expect to be hurt by others; and when hurt, they may not be surprised, and therefore, are less hurt by the HM. Individuals with preoccupied attachments may report more hurt when experiencing a HM from their partners. Preoccupieds, with their low self-worth, depend on their partners to define their value; thus, any criticism or insult may be especially hurtful. Because these proposed relationships are largely speculative, a research question is posed regarding the association between degree of hurt and attachment style. RQ: What is the relationship between partner attachment dimensions (i.e., secure, preoccupied, and dismissive-avoidant) and the degree of hurt experienced from a hurtful message? Method Participants Fifty-two romantically involved couples from a larger study examining the relationship between attachment and conflict styles (Le Poire & Dailey, 2002) were also asked to report on hurtful messages in their relationship. These couples ranged in age from 18 to 28 years (M=20.5, SD=1.9). The large majority (83.3%) were undergraduates, 10% had high school or associates

Authors: Dailey, Rene. and Le Poire, Beth.
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Hurt and Attachment 11
interesting to examine how the degree of hurt reported may vary by the different attachment
styles. One might expect that individuals with secure attachments to their partners are hurt more
by HMs exhibited by their partners because they occur less often; thus, when HMs do occur, they
may be more novel and salient to a secure. In contrast, for the same reason (i.e., infrequency)
secures may report less hurt by HMs; due to secures’ high self-worth and trust in others, they
may believe their partners had no negative motives underlying the HMs. Dismissive-avoidants
likely report less hurt when experiencing an HM. Avoidants, by definition, distance themselves
from their partners in order to prevent being hurt or abandoned. In a way, avoidants expect to be
hurt by others; and when hurt, they may not be surprised, and therefore, are less hurt by the HM.
Individuals with preoccupied attachments may report more hurt when experiencing a HM from
their partners. Preoccupieds, with their low self-worth, depend on their partners to define their
value; thus, any criticism or insult may be especially hurtful. Because these proposed
relationships are largely speculative, a research question is posed regarding the association
between degree of hurt and attachment style.
RQ: What is the relationship between partner attachment dimensions (i.e., secure,
preoccupied, and dismissive-avoidant) and the degree of hurt experienced from a
hurtful message?
Method
Participants
Fifty-two romantically involved couples from a larger study examining the relationship
between attachment and conflict styles (Le Poire & Dailey, 2002) were also asked to report on
hurtful messages in their relationship. These couples ranged in age from 18 to 28 years (M=20.5,
SD=1.9). The large majority (83.3%) were undergraduates, 10% had high school or associates


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