Relationships among attachment anxiety, avoidance, accepting the past, and autobiographical memory

Şengül (Boyacıoğlu), İnci
The purpose of the present study is to investigate the relationships among accepting and reminiscing the past, attachment dimensions, and autobiographical memory. University students (N=182) participated to the study (105 women, 77 men). The relationships among attachment anxiety, avoidance, accepting and reminiscing the past, and autobiographical memory were examined within the context of emotionally charged memories and the phenomenological properties of the recalled autobiographical memories, such as the recollection, coherence, and persistence of the reported memories. Results revealed that attachment anxiety significantly predicted the visceral reactions to emotional memories, the vividness and negative valence of the recalled memories, overall the affective aspects of autobiographical memories. Results also indicated that attachment anxiety was a reliable predictor of accepting the past. The interaction between attachment anxiety and avoidance has also a predictive effect on the specifity of memory (specifity of the memory to the person) and vividness, When the patterns of the interaction effect were examined, it was observed that individuals with high attachment anxiety and avoidance (i.e. fearful attachment) reported high scores in specifity, vividness, and cognitive properties of the recalled memories than individuals with low anxiety and high avoidance (i.e., dismissive attachment), suggesting that dismissing individuals repress their memories and fearful hyperactivate them. Attachment avoidance has a significant predictive effect on recollection. Examination of the effect of the accepting the past on the phenomenological properties of autobiographical memory indicated that accepting the past significantly predicted positive and negative valence, perspective, and visceral reactions. Partially supporting the hypotheses, these results suggested that attachment anxiety, but not avoidance has a consistent effect on the affective aspects of autobiographical memory. Findings were discussed on the basis of the literature on both attachment and autobiographical memory.


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Citation Formats
İ. Şengül (Boyacıoğlu), “Relationships among attachment anxiety, avoidance, accepting the past, and autobiographical memory,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2006.