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Title: Attachment patterns, prejudice, and empathy
Author: Boag, Elle
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 0352
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2011
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The purpose of my PhD is to examine one mechanism by which attachment security may lead to decreased prejudice, thus examining novel research hypotheses. Research supports the prediction that high attachment avoidance and high attachment anxiety are associated with high negativity toward outgroups (Hofstra, van Oudenhoven, & Buunk, 2005) and decreased empathy compared to individuals low in attachment avoidance or anxiety (e.g., Batson, Eklund, Chermok, Hoyt, & Ortiz, 2007). However, whereas fearful individuals characteristically use hyperactivating strategies to avoid rejection from others, dismissing individuals use deactivating strategies to avoid contact with others. Thus, it is important to assess how empathy influences the relation between attachment avoidance and prejudice, and between attachment anxiety and prejudice. I hypothesized that empathy would mediate the relation between attachment dimensions and prejudice. Specifically, I predicted that the relation between attachment avoidance and prejudice, and between attachment anxiety and prejudice, would be mediated by low empathy. Dispositional attachment security and primed attachment security were examined separately in three studies. In the Study 1 the mediating role of empathy in the relationship between dispositional attachment security and prejudice was identified. In Study 2 the mediating role of empathy on the relationship between primed attachment pattern and prejudice was confirmed, providing specificity as to which aspect of empathy is the key component through which prejudice can be reduced in attachment-avoidant individuals. Study 3 extends the findings to demonstrate that primed attachment security influences self-reported intention to discriminate and subsequent discriminatory behaviour. Combined, the findings within this thesis make valuable contributions to social psychological understanding of why variations in prejudice toward Muslims exist, and provide evidence that have important implications in future interventions aimed to reduce prejudice
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology