The relation between attachment styles and emotion regulation is well documented, and emotion dysregulation is considered characteristic of individuals with insecure attachment styles. Although gender differences in emotion regulation have often been reported, it is not clear whether the association between attachment styles and aspects of emotion dysregulation may vary across gender. A sample of 229 newlywed couples completed the Experiences in Close Relationship–Revised scale and the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale. First, we confirmed previous evidence on the association between attachment insecurities and emotion dysregulation. Indeed, attachment anxiety and avoidance were both related to emotional nonacceptance and lack of emotional clarity. Moreover, attachment anxiety was associated with difficulties in impulse control and limited access to effective emotion regulation strategies, whereas attachment avoidance was uniquely related to lack of emotional awareness. Finally, gender was found to moderate the association that both attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance had with difficulties in pursuing desired goals when experiencing negative emotions. Specifically, among women (but not men), attachment anxiety was associated with greater difficulties in engaging in goal-directed behavior when distressed. Conversely, the association between attachment avoidance and difficulties in pursuing desired goals when distressed was positive for men and negative for women.
Velotti, P., D’Aguanno, M., de Campora, G., di Francescantonio, S., Garofalo, C., Giromini , L., Petrocchi , C., Terrasi, M., & Zavattini, G. C. (2016). Gender moderates the relationship between attachment insecurities and emotion dysregulation. South African Journal of Psychology, 46(2), 191-202. https://doi.org/10.1177/0081246315604582