Emotional Avoidance and Rumination as Mediators of the Relation Between Adult Attachment and Emotional Disclosure

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The authors evaluated emotional avoidance as a mediator of the relation between attachment avoidance (i.e., fear of dependency) and emotional disclosure and rumination as a mediator of the relation between attachment anxiety (i.e., fear of rejection) and emotional disclosure. Two operational definitions were used for each of three variables – emotional avoidance, rumination, and emotional disclosure – such that hypotheses were tested on generalized self-appraisals and responses to specific emotional events. College students (N = 116) first completed generalized self-report measures of attachment, expressive suppression (i.e., emotional avoidance), rumination, and emotional-disclosure tendencies. Then, during a 7-day diary study, they provided daily reports of emotional avoidance, rumination, and disclosure concerning the day’s most unpleasant event. Attachment avoidance was negatively related to disclosure tendencies and daily-event disclosure; emotional avoidance was supported as a mediator in the generalized self-report analyses. Attachment anxiety was positively related to both measures of rumination, and daily-event rumination was positively related to daily-event disclosure, but mediation was not supported in either analysis. The findings suggest implications for theories of attachment and emotion regulation.


This article was originally published as Garrison, A. M., Kahn, J. H., Miller, S. A., & Sauer, E. M. (2014). Emotional avoidance and rumination as mediators of the relation between adult attachment and emotional disclosure. Personality and Individual Differences, 70, 239–245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.07.006.