Attachment Orientations and Reactions to Ostracism in Close Relationships and Groups

Phillip R. Shaver and Mario Mikulincer

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Exclusion

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780195398700
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Attachment Orientations and Reactions to Ostracism in Close Relationships and Groups

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Attachment theory is one of the most useful contemporary conceptual frameworks for understanding emotion regulation and mental health. In his exposition of attachment theory, John Bowlby explained how the sense of attachment security (confidence that one is lovable and that caregivers are available and supportive when needed) in relationships helps a person deal with threats, losses, and negative emotions and how attachment-related insecurities interfere with the regulation of negative emotions and recovery from rejections, losses, and setbacks throughout life. In the present chapter, we wish to explore the possibility that attachment security or insecurity in adulthood can help to explain individual differences in cognitive, emotional, and behavioral reactions to social rejection in both close relationships and groups. We review literature relevant to this proposal and also present data from a preliminary study of the buffering of one effect of ostracism—loss of meaning in life—by attachment security.

Keywords: attachment; interpersonal relationships; meaning in life; security; social rejection

Article.  7093 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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