Adult Attachment and Relational Aggression

We are in the process of planning a couple of studies exploring the possible relationship between adult attachment style and relational aggression. Attachment has been linked to overt physical and verbal aggression in a number of studies, including some focused on intimate partner violence. Moreover, there is some indication that parental attachment may be relevant in relational aggression among children and early adolescents (Michiels, Grietens, Onghena, & Kuppens, 2008). It makes sense that attachment might also be associated with relationally aggressive behaviors in the peer and romantic relationships of older adolescents and adults. Initially, we will be examining attachment in the context of a study focusing on different aspects of parenting in relational aggression among college students.

An additional next step we hope to tackle involves determining whether the predicted relationships between adult attachment and relational aggression persist independent of one's global personality traits (i.e., the "Big Five" personality factors). Another involves examining some of the variables which we suspect may moderate the relationship between attachment and relational aggression (e.g., anger, perceived social support, etc.).