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 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.

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Relevant Publications:

Girme, Y.U., Peters, B.J., Baker, L.R., Overall, N.C., Fletcher, G.J.O., Reis, H.T., Jamieson, J.P. & Sigal, M.J. (online advance). Attachment anxiety and the curvilinear effects of expressive suppression on individuals’ and partners’ outcomes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000338

McRae, C.S., Overall, N.C., Henderson, A.M.E., Low, R.S.T., & Cross, E.J. (online advance). Conflict-Coparenting Spillover: The role of actors’ and partners’ attachment insecurity and gender. Journal of Family Psychology. doi.org/10.1037/fam0000884

Overall, N.C., Chang, V.T., Pietromonaco, P.R., Low, S.T. & Henderson, A.M.E. (online advance). Partners’ attachment insecurity and stress predict poorer relationship functioning during COVID-19 quarantines. Social Psychological and Personality Science. doi.org/10.1177/1948550621992973

Girme, Y.U., Jones, R.E., Fleck, C., Simpson, J.A., & Overall, N.C. (2021). Infants’ attachment insecurity predicts attachment-relevant emotion regulation patterns in adulthood. Emotion, 21(2), 260-272. doi.org/10.1037/emo0000721

Nakamura, M.S., Simpson, J.A., & Overall, N.C. (2020). Partner buffering in intimate relationships: An attachment perspective. In Laura E. Vanderdrift, Christopher R. Agnew, and Ximena B. Arriaga (Eds.), Interdependence, Interaction, and Close Relationships. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Nunez Segovia, A., Maxwell, J.A., DiLorenzo, M.G., & MacDonald, G. (in press). No strings attached? How attachment orientation is related to the varieties of casual sexual relationships. Personality and Individual Differences. doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2019.05.061

Sasaki, E., & Overall, N.C. (2020). A dyadic perspective of felt security: Does partners’ security buffer the effects of actors’ insecurity on daily commitment? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, 7411. doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207411

Karantzas, G.C., Simpson, J.A., Overall, N.C., & Campbell, L. (2019). The association between attachment orientations and partner evaluations: An ideal standards perspective. Personal Relationships, 26, 628-653. doi.org/10.1111/pere.12297

Girme, Y.U., Overall, N.C., & Hammond, M.D. (2019). Facilitating autonomy in interdependent relationships: Invisible support facilitates highly avoidant individuals’ autonomy. Journal of Family Psychology, 33, 154-165. doi.org/10.1037/fam0000488

Overall, N.C. (2019). Attachment insecurity and power regulation in intimate relationships. Current Opinion in Psychology, 25, 53-58. doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.03.004

Overall, N.C., & Cross, E.J. (2019). Attachment insecurity and the regulation of power and dependence in intimate relationships. In C.R. Agnew & J.J. Harmon (Eds.), Power in Close Relationships (pp. 28-54).  New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Peters, B.J., Overall, N.C., Girme, Y.U., & Jamieson, J.P. (2019). Partners’ attachment insecurity predicts greater physiological threat in anticipation of attachment-relevant interactions. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36, 469-489. doi.org/10.1177/0265407517734655

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. doi.org/10.1177/1088868317705257

Cross, E.J., & Overall, N.C. (2018). Women’s attraction to benevolent sexism: Needing relationship security predicts greater attraction to men who endorse benevolent sexism. European Journal of Social Psychology, 48, 336-347. doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2334

Dixon, H.C., & Overall, N.C. (2018). Regulating fears of rejection: Dispositional mindfulness attenuates the links between daily conflict, rejection fears and destructive relationship behaviors. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35, 159-179. doi.org/10.1177/0265407516678486

Jayamaha, S.D., Girme, Y.U., & Overall, N.C. (2017). When attachment anxiety impedes support provision: Feeling undervalued when partners are distressed. Journal of Family Psychology, 31, 181-191. doi.org/10.1037/fam0000222.

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. doi.org/10.1177/0146167216647933

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. doi.org/10.1177/0146167216637846

Farrell, A.K., Simpson, J.A., Overall, N.C., & Shallcross, S.L. (2016). Buffering avoidantly attached romantic partners in strain test situations. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 580-591. doi.org/10.1037/fam0000186.

Jayamaha, S.D., Antonellis, C., & Overall, N.C. (2016). Attachment insecurity and inducing guilt to regulate romantic partners. Personal Relationships, 23, 311-338. doi.org/10.1111/pere.12128.

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.org/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.org/10.1037/a0038866 Download PDF

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.org/10.1037/a0034371 Download PDF

Simpson, J.A., & Overall, N.C. (2014). Partner buffering of attachment insecurity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23, 54-59. doi.org/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.org/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.org/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.org/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.org/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.org/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.org/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.org/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.org/10.1037/0022-3514.91.4.662 Download PDF