Monday, April 28, 2014

The distance of closeness: Physiological implications of avoidant attachment


Robin Edelstein, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan

Monday, April 28
SBSG 1517


For speaker information, see Dr. Edelstein's faculty website


Close relationships are an important source of support, pleasure, and companionship across the lifespan. People who are more socially connected may even live longer, healthier lives. Yet there are important individual differences in the extent to which people pursue and enjoy intimacy in close relationships, and these differences can attenuate the beneficial effects of social connection. In this talk, I will present research on neuroendocrine correlates and consequences of individual differences in adult attachment, or people’s characteristic approach to close relationships. I will focus primarily on links between attachment avoidance (discomfort with closeness and intimacy) and hormones associated with nurturance (estradiol, testosterone) and stress (cortisol). Together, this work suggests that, although an avoidant approach to closeness may offer some short-term benefits, it may ultimately have long-term costs for relationships, health, and well-being.