Contributions of psychophysiology to research on adult attachment: Review and recommendations

  • Diamond L
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Despite the increasing use of psychophysiological measures to investigate social and in- terpersonal phenomena, few studies of adult romantic attachment have taken advantage of this approach. In this article I argue for a biologically-specific, theory-based integra- tion of psychophysiological measures into adult attachment research. This approach would help elucidate the normative psychobiological properties of the attachment sys- tem, which have received little study in humans. Specifically, it would allow researchers to test targeted hypotheses regarding affect and arousal regulation in attachment rela- tionships. I provide a general introduction to 2 biological systems that hold particular promise for adult attachment research: the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis of the endocrine system. I highlight the relevance of these systems for attachment phenomena and review findings from selected social psychophysiological research. I conclude by outlining a tentative theoretical model of the psychobiology of adult attachment and identifying spe- cific directions for future research.

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  • Lisa M. Diamond

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