Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Two studies examined the associations among attachment styles, excessive reassurance seeking (ERS) and negative feedback seeking (NFS) in depression. In Study 1 (n = 303), undergraduate students completed measures assessing attachment style, depressive symptoms, and ERS following either an imaginary interpersonal (friend and partner) or achievement prime. In Study 2 (n = 202), undergraduates completed the same measures in addition to completing an index of NFS following an imaginary interpersonal (partner) and achievement prime. Controlling for symptoms of depression, anxious attachment was positively related to ERS, and avoidant attachment was negatively related to ERS and positively associated with NFS. These results suggest that ERS and NFS may be a function of non-secure attachment rather than symptoms of depression per se. More specifically, anxiously attached individuals may attempt to reduce fears of abandonment by seeking reassurance from close others, whereas avoidantly attached individuals may strive to confirm negative perceptions of the self and relationships by seeking out unfavorable feedback from close others.