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Exploring the Relationship Between Hurtful Messages and Partner Attachment
Unformatted Document Text:  Hurt and Attachment 20 overall conflict. It is possible that secures might perceive messages as more hurtful because of the contrast effect of believing they receive so few; thus, due to their low expectations regarding the occurrence of HMs, it is possible they experienced greater hurt. The opposite was true for preoccupied tendencies. Greater preoccupation was associated with greater reports of hurtful message frequency but was also associated (marginally) with lower degrees of hurt elicited by the conflict episode. This may suggest that preoccupieds’ increased experience with HMs builds a tolerance or resistance to such messages. Greater dismissive-avoidant tendencies were also negatively related to degree of hurt reported from the conflict interaction, although only weakly related. Because no relationship was found in terms of HM frequency and dismissive-avoidance, the relationship between frequency and degree of hurt cannot be discussed here. Perhaps dismissive-avoidants are very successful at distancing themselves from potential harm. In essence, they intentionally limit the intimacy with their partners in order to avoid being rejected or consumed by the relationship. This distancing may also decrease the intensity of hurt their partners’ messages may elicit. As Miller (1997) notes, greater intimacy provides more weapons with which to hurt others. Thus, limiting the intimacy may limit the degree to which dismissive- avoidants’ partners can hurt them. Also noteworthy are the results regarding gender and length of relationship. Though gender was not significantly associated with the frequency of HMs in terms of the bivariate correlations, it was significant when included in the analysis accounting for the interdependence between partners. Females reported greater frequency of HMs than did males. Because females are generally socialized to be responsible for relational maintenance, they may be more aware of messages that are potentially hurtful. An alternative explanation is that females may be more likely to interpret messages as hurtful. However, gender was not related to the degree of hurt

Authors: Dailey, Rene. and Le Poire, Beth.
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Hurt and Attachment 20
overall conflict. It is possible that secures might perceive messages as more hurtful because of
the contrast effect of believing they receive so few; thus, due to their low expectations regarding
the occurrence of HMs, it is possible they experienced greater hurt. The opposite was true for
preoccupied tendencies. Greater preoccupation was associated with greater reports of hurtful
message frequency but was also associated (marginally) with lower degrees of hurt elicited by
the conflict episode. This may suggest that preoccupieds’ increased experience with HMs builds
a tolerance or resistance to such messages. Greater dismissive-avoidant tendencies were also
negatively related to degree of hurt reported from the conflict interaction, although only weakly
related. Because no relationship was found in terms of HM frequency and dismissive-avoidance,
the relationship between frequency and degree of hurt cannot be discussed here. Perhaps
dismissive-avoidants are very successful at distancing themselves from potential harm. In
essence, they intentionally limit the intimacy with their partners in order to avoid being rejected
or consumed by the relationship. This distancing may also decrease the intensity of hurt their
partners’ messages may elicit. As Miller (1997) notes, greater intimacy provides more weapons
with which to hurt others. Thus, limiting the intimacy may limit the degree to which dismissive-
avoidants’ partners can hurt them.
Also noteworthy are the results regarding gender and length of relationship. Though
gender was not significantly associated with the frequency of HMs in terms of the bivariate
correlations, it was significant when included in the analysis accounting for the interdependence
between partners. Females reported greater frequency of HMs than did males. Because females
are generally socialized to be responsible for relational maintenance, they may be more aware of
messages that are potentially hurtful. An alternative explanation is that females may be more
likely to interpret messages as hurtful. However, gender was not related to the degree of hurt


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