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Title: Exploring the effects of attachment security priming on depressed and anxious mood
Author: Otway, Lorna J.
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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On the basis of correlational evidence linking attachment insecurity to depression and anxiety (Reis & Greyner, 2004; Eng et al., 2001) my first aim in Study 1 (N = 144) was to uncover causal relationships between attachment patterns and depression and anxiety. Anxious-primed participants reported higher depressed mood than secure-primed participants. Furthermore, avoidant-primed and anxious primed participants reported higher anxious mood compared to secure-primed participants, suggesting a causal relationship between attachment anxiety and depression and that attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance cause anxious mood. The beneficial effects of repeated security priming can last for several days (e.g., Carnelley & Rowe, 2007). My second aim, in Study 2 (N = 50) and Study 3 (N = 81) was to test the effectiveness of repeated security priming via text messages. Participants completed secure (versus neutral) primes in the laboratory followed by text message primes for 3 days. In both experiments, secure- (versus neutral)-primed participants reported higher felt security immediately after the laboratory prime, after the last text prime and 1 day after the last text prime. This is a promising development for researchers interested in exploring the long-term effects of repeated attachment security priming. My third aim was to test the effectiveness of repeated secure versus neutral priming (in the laboratory and via texts) on depressed and anxious mood. In Study 3, secureprimed participants reported less anxious mood compared to neutral-primed participants. Furthermore, results suggested that over time repeated security priming is likely to reduce depressed mood. In Study 4 (N = 12) secure-primed clinically depressed outpatients did not show differences in depressed or anxious mood compared to neutral-primed participants. Further research is necessary with an adequate sample size. These findings make a novel contribution to understanding the role of attachment patterns in mood disorders. Moreover, the clinical implications of these results are that in the future, security priming might be included in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Supervisor: Carnelley, Katherine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology