Adult attachment and gender-related traits: Contributions to dimensions of anger

Lisa Gaye Robin, Fordham University


A major theme to emerge from the adult attachment literature concerns the potential impact that gender role forces may have on attachment-related processes and outcomes—especially those involving conflict and anger. However, until the present study, this aspect of adult attachment has remained relatively unexplored. In the present study, 190 undergraduate and graduate students completed 2 measures of gender-related traits (Extended Personal Attributes Questionnaire, Unmitigated Communion Scale), an adult attachment measure (Relationship Scales Questionnaire), and a measure of anger (Multidimensional Anger Inventory). Hierarchical and multivariate regressions were conducted with the MAI serving as the criterion and the remaining variables serving as predictors. Correlations among the predictors indicated that preoccupied attachment was associated with traits more often found among women, whereas fearful attachment was associated with traits more often found among men. This finding provided support for the notion that gender role factors are germane to attachment-related phenomena. A regression model explained 44% of the variance in total anger, with gender-related traits, attachment style, and the interaction of mitigated agency by preoccupied attachment each making significant independent contributions to total anger. Participants who scored higher on total anger were characterized by lower levels of mitigated agency and communion, and higher levels of unmitigated agency and the anxiety-based forms of attachment (i.e., fear or preoccupation). Mitigated agency attenuated the strength of the association between preoccupied attachment and anger, however. Results from the multivariate regression suggested meaningful distinctions between 2 subtypes of avoidance and between 2 types of anxious attachment. It was recommended that researchers make greater use of Bartholomew's 4-category framework of adult attachment and that measures of gender role be included in studies of attachment-related conflict.

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Recommended Citation

Robin, Lisa Gaye, "Adult attachment and gender-related traits: Contributions to dimensions of anger" (2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3084916.