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Relationship dissolution often leads to emotional distress brought on by the loss of shared identities with an ex-partner and reduced self-concept clarity. Individuals are motivated to resolve these psychological consequences to avoid prolonged negative affect, however the ways in which people do this may vary by attachment style. Previous research suggests those high in attachment anxiety are more likely to desire to rekindle a dissolved relationship (i.e., wanting to re-establish a romantic relationship with an ex-partner) than those low in attachment anxiety due to reduced self-concept clarity upon breakup (Cope & Mattingly, 2018). The current research aimed to replicate and extend upon these findings by positing that those high in attachment avoidance would be more likely to desire a rebound relationship (i.e., a new partnership formed shortly after dissolution before feelings about the previous relationship are resolved) than those low in avoidant attachment. Additionally, I hypothesized that individuals would desire to rekindle and rebound to fulfill different psychological needs based on attachment style (i.e., autonomy, competence, and relatedness needs). Results suggest that those high in avoidant attachment generally prefer rebounding behaviors over rekindling, and those high in anxious attachment report both rekindling and rebounding desire. Furthermore, certain psychological needs (e.g., relatedness and competence) were associated with attachment style and recovery preference, but did not fully mediate the direct effects.
Cope, Morgan A., "Mediations and Motivations of Attachment-Dependent Self-Recovery Post-Dissolution" (2019). Psychology Honors Papers. 3.