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Exploring the Relationship Between Hurtful Messages and Partner Attachment
Unformatted Document Text:  Hurt and Attachment 19 leave them. Consequently, as discussed earlier, it is possible that preoccupieds will look for, and be more likely to interpret messages as hurtful, because this is what they have learned to expect from relationships. It was also predicted that greater secure and dismissive-avoidant tendencies would be related to fewer reports of HMs in the overall relationship. Results showed that secure tendencies were negatively related to the frequency of HMs in the relationship; those who reported being more secure in their relationship perceived fewer HMs from their partner. This may be occurring for two reasons. First, secures have higher trust in others and may perceive that fewer messages from their partners are hurtful. Second, Collins and Read (1990) suggest that our parental attachment may influence our choice in partners; thus, secures with their high self worth may choose partners that are more respectful of them (i.e., inflict fewer HMs). Though predictions were confirmed for both secure and preoccupied tendencies, dismissive-avoidant tendencies were unrelated to frequency of HMs reported. Perhaps, because dismissive-avoidants distance themselves from their partners, they are less aware about the number of HMs in their relationship. Or, the frequency of HMs reported by dismissive-avoidants may vary by their partners’ attachment. Possibly, dismissive-avoidants perceive more HMs from preoccupied partners than from secure partners. (This inter-relationship of partners’ attachment styles is discussed in greater detail as an area of future research.) Because literature on HMs typically assesses the degree of hurt elicited by a HM, degree of hurt reported during in a conflict was also assessed in relation to attachment style. Interestingly, though secure tendencies were related to being hurt less often, secure tendencies were also related to greater hurt elicited by the conflict episode enacted in the current investigation. In other words, the more secure a partner was, the more hurt he or she was by the

Authors: Dailey, Rene. and Le Poire, Beth.
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Hurt and Attachment 19
leave them. Consequently, as discussed earlier, it is possible that preoccupieds will look for, and
be more likely to interpret messages as hurtful, because this is what they have learned to expect
from relationships.
It was also predicted that greater secure and dismissive-avoidant tendencies would be
related to fewer reports of HMs in the overall relationship. Results showed that secure tendencies
were negatively related to the frequency of HMs in the relationship; those who reported being
more secure in their relationship perceived fewer HMs from their partner. This may be occurring
for two reasons. First, secures have higher trust in others and may perceive that fewer messages
from their partners are hurtful. Second, Collins and Read (1990) suggest that our parental
attachment may influence our choice in partners; thus, secures with their high self worth may
choose partners that are more respectful of them (i.e., inflict fewer HMs). Though predictions
were confirmed for both secure and preoccupied tendencies, dismissive-avoidant tendencies
were unrelated to frequency of HMs reported. Perhaps, because dismissive-avoidants distance
themselves from their partners, they are less aware about the number of HMs in their
relationship. Or, the frequency of HMs reported by dismissive-avoidants may vary by their
partners’ attachment. Possibly, dismissive-avoidants perceive more HMs from preoccupied
partners than from secure partners. (This inter-relationship
of partners’ attachment styles is
discussed in greater detail as an area of future research.)
Because literature on HMs typically assesses the degree of hurt elicited by a HM, degree
of hurt reported during in a conflict was also assessed in relation to attachment style.
Interestingly, though secure tendencies were related to being hurt less often, secure tendencies
were also related to greater hurt elicited by the conflict episode enacted in the current
investigation. In other words, the more secure a partner was, the more hurt he or she was by the


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