Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Corr I 250
State of mind/attachment theory/Shaver/Mikulincer: A. One state of mind is based on the failure of attachment behaviours to achieve a positive result (closeness, love or protection) and on being punished (with inattention, rejection or hostility) for enacting these behaviours. In such a state, seeking proximity to an attachment figure is likely to become a major source or threat of psychological pain.
B. A very different state of mind emerges from emphasizing the failure to co-regulate distress and worrying that one does not have the capacity to deal with threats alone. This state of mind encourages a person to work harder to gain attention, cooperation and protection from an attachment figure, i.e., to hyperactivate the attachment system.
Mikulincer, Gillath, Sapir-Lavid et al. (2003)(1) described an array of external and internal factors that contribute to the relative strength of these two different states of mind. Avoidant deactivation seems to be encouraged by (a) consistent inattention, rejection or angry responses from an attachment figure; (b) threats of punishment for proximity-seeking signals and behaviours; (c) violent or abusive behaviour on the part of an attachment figure; and (d) explicit or implicit demands for greater self-reliance and inhibition of expressions of need and vulnerability.


1. Mikulincer, M., Gillath, O., Sapir-Lavid, Y., Yaakobi, E., Arias, K., Tal-Aloni, L. and Bor, G. 2003. Attachment theory and concern for others’ welfare: evidence that activation of the sense of secure base promotes endorsement of self-transcendence values, Basic and Applied Social Psychology 25: 299–312


Phillip R. Shaver and Mario Mikulincer, “Developmental, psychodynamic and optimal-functioning aspects”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Attachment Theory
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-04-21
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