Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access



Faculty Mentor

Brent Mattingly


Presented during the 20th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 20, 2018 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Previous research suggests that romantic relationship dissolution diminishes self-concept clarity, leading to emotional distress. However, people can overcome breakup and move on from relationships, yet little is known about how people recover from reduced self-concept clarity. The current research examines relationship rekindling (desiring to reestablish a relationship with an ex-partner) as a method of navigating and restoring self-concept clarity post-dissolution, as well as who is likely to engage in this process. We posited that those high in attachment anxiety would be more likely to desire and attempt to rekindle a relationship following breakup, and they would do so to resolve self-concept confusion. We tested these hypotheses retrospectively (Study 1) and concurrently (Study 2) by measuring past and present rekindling desire, self-concept clarity, and attachment. Across both studies, results indicated that attachment anxiety predicts relationship rekindling, and this association is mediated by self-concept clarity. Taken together, these results suggest that individuals with high versus low attachment anxiety are more likely to desire and attempt to rekindle a dissolved relationship as a way of resolving self-concept confusion after a breakup.


Available to Ursinus community only.