Attachment Processes and Dyadic Regulation of Insecurity


The relationship experiences people have faced across their life create different beliefs, expectations and ways of dealing with difficult interpersonal situations. Unfortunately, when people have tough relationship experiences, such as when they have been rejected or neglected, they tend to develop negative and distrusting expectations as well as poor strategies to manage their emotions and relationships. These attachment insecurities not only make it difficult for people to sustain happy relationships, but also undermine psychological and physical health by impeding the love and support we rely on to get through the challenges of life. Our research examines the different ways that attachment insecurity impacts on relationship functioning, including how attachment insecurity shapes how people perceive their relationships and relationship partners, manage conflict with close others, give and receive support, and generally behave in their daily relationship interactions. More importantly, our research examines how partners can help insecure individuals regulate their emotions more constructively and protect relationships from the typical damage associated with attachment insecurity.

< go back to research programmes

Some Relevant Publications:

Overall, N.C., & Cross, E.J. (in press). Attachment insecurity and the regulation of power and dependence in intimate relationships. In C.R. Agnew & J.J. Harmon (Eds.), Power in Close Relationships.  New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Arriaga, X.B., Kumashiro, M., Simpson, J.A., & Overall, N.C. (2018). Revising working models across time: Relationship situations that enhance attachment security. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 22, 71-96.

Peters, B.J., Overall, N.C., Girme, Y.U., & Jamieson, J.P. (2018). Partners’ attachment insecurity predicts greater physiological threat in anticipation of attachment-relevant interactions. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

Overall, N.C., Girme, Y. U., & Simpson, J.A. (2016). The Power of Diagnostic Situations: How support and conflict can foster growth and security. In C.R. Knee and H.T. Reis (Eds.), Positive Approaches to Optimal Relationship Development. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Overall, N.C., Fletcher, G.J.O., Simpson, J.A., & Filo, J. (2015). Attachment insecurity, biased perceptions of romantic partners’ negative emotions, and hostile relationship behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 108(5):730-749. DOI:10.1037/a0038987 [Download PDF]

Girme, Y.U., Overall, N.C., Simpson, J.A., & Fletcher, G.J.O. (2015). “All or nothing”: Attachment avoidance and the curvilinear effects of partner support. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108(3), 450-475. DOI:10.1037/a0038866 [Download PDF]

Girme, Y. U., Molloy, P., Overall, N. C. (2016). Repairing distance and facilitating support: Reassurance seeking by highly avoidant individuals is associated with greater closeness and partner support. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 645-661.

Cross, E.J., Overall, N.C. & Hammond, M.D. (2016). Perceiving partners to endorse benevolent sexism attenuates highly anxious women’s negative reactions to conflict. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 923-940.

Farrell, A.K., Simpson, J.A., Overall, N.C., & Shallcross, S.L. (in press). Buffering avoidantly attached romantic partners in strain test situations. Journal of Family Psychology.

Jayamaha, S.D., Girme, Y.U., & Overall, N.C. (in press). When attachment anxiety impedes support provision: Feeling undervalued when partners are distressed. Journal of Family Psychology.

Overall, N.C. & Lemay, E.P. (2015). Attachment and dyadic regulation processes. In J.A. Simpson and W.S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment Theory and Research: New Directions and Emerging Themes. New York: Guilford.

Overall, N.C. & Simpson, J.A. (2015). Attachment and dyadic regulation processes. In J.A. Simpson and E.J. Finkel (Eds.), Current Opinion in Psychology, 1, 61-66. [Download PDF]

Overall, N. C., Girme, Y.U., Lemay, E. P. Jr., & Hammond, M.D. (2014). Attachment anxiety and reactions to relationship threat: The benefits and costs of inducing guilt in romantic partners. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 235-256. DOI: 10.1037/a0034371 [Download PDF]

Jayamaha, S.D., Antonellis, C., & Overall, N.C. (in press). Attachment insecurity and inducing guilt to regulate romantic partners. Personal Relationships.

Simpson, J.A., & Overall, N.C. (2014). Partner buffering of attachment insecurity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, 54-59. DOI: 10.1177/0963721413510933  [Download PDF]

Overall, N.C., Simpson, J.A., & Struthers, H. (2013). Buffering attachment avoidance: Softening emotional and behavioral defenses during conflict discussions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 854-871. DOI: 10.1037/a0031798  [Download PDF]

Tan, R., Overall, N.C., & Taylor, J.K. (2012). Let’s talk about us: Attachment, relationship-focused disclosure, and relationship quality. Personal Relationships, 19, 521-534. DOI:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2011.01383.x  [Download PDF]

Overall, N.C., & Sibley, C.G. (2009). When rejection-sensitivity matters: Regulating dependence within daily interactions with family and friends. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 1057-1070. DOI: 10.1177/0146167209336754 [Download PDF]

Overall, N.C., & Sibley, C.G. (2009). Attachment and dependence regulation within daily interactions with romantic partners. Personal Relationships, 16, 239-261. DOI:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2009.01221.x [Download PDF]

Overall, N.C., & Sibley, C.G. (2008). Attachment and attraction toward romantic partners versus relevant alternatives within daily interactions. Personality and Individual Differences, 44, 1126-1137. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2007.11.006 [Download PDF]

Sibley, C.G., & Overall, N.C. (2008). Modeling the hierarchical structure of attachment representations: A test of domain differentiation. Personality and Individual Differences, 44, 238-249. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2007.08.003 [Download PDF]

Sibley, C.G., & Overall, N.C. (2007). The boundaries between attachment and personality: Associations across three levels of the attachment network. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 960-967. DOI:10.1016/j.jrp.2006.10.002 [Download PDF]

Overall, N.C., Fletcher, G.J.O., & Friesen, M.D. (2003). Mapping the intimate relationship mind: Comparisons between three models of attachment representations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1479-1493. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.91.4.662 [Download PDF]

Comments are closed.

Skip to toolbar