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A Net of Friends: Investigating Friendship by Integrating Attachment Theory and Social Network Analysis

Gillath, Omri
Selçuk, Emre
The current article focuses on attachment stylean individual difference widely studied in the field of close relationshipsand its application to the study of social networks. Specifically, we investigated whether attachment style predicts perception and management of social networks. In Study 1, we examined the associations of attachment style with perceptions of network tie strength and multiplexity. In Studies 2a and 2b, we investigated the association between attachment style and network management skills (initiating, maintaining, and dissolving ties) and whether network management skills mediated the associations of attachment style with network tie strength and multiplexity. In Study 3, experimentally enhancing attachment security made people more likely to initiate and less likely to dissolve social ties (for the latter, especially among those high on avoidance or anxiety). As for maintenance, security priming also increased maintenance; however, mainly among people high on attachment anxiety or low on attachment avoidance.