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Individual differences in adult attachment and reinforcement sensitivity

Authors
Journal
Personality and Individual Differences
0191-8869
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
68
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.04.022
Keywords
  • Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory
  • Attachment Style
  • Motivation
  • Behavioural Approach System
  • Fight-Flight-Freeze System
  • Behavioural Inhibition System
Disciplines
  • Psychology

Abstract

Abstract This study examined the nature of the relationship between adult attachment and sensitivities of the Behavioural Approach System (BAS), Fight-Flight-Freeze System (FFFS), and the Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS) as defined by Gray and McNaughton’s (2000) revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (r-RST). A total of 225 first year psychology students completed the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised scale (ECR-R) as an index of adult attachment; along with Carver and White’s (1994) BAS scale (CW-BAS), Fear Survey Schedule (FSS), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory Personality Questionnaire (RST-PQ) as indices of reinforcement sensitivity. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that both attachment dimensions are significantly related to BIS sensitivity, which suggests that motivational ambivalence is a central feature of attachment insecurity. This study contributes to the understanding of adult attachment behaviour in relationship to more fundamental motivational systems.

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