Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Henry Biller


Since its inception, adult attachment theory has been used to identify individual differences within a wide range of interpersonal and intra-personal phenomena. Reviews of the literature suggest that securely attached adults are better able to cope with stressors and life demands both within themselves and in the context of significant social relationships than are adults exhibiting insecure styles of attachment. Research in the area of emotional intelligence suggests that people differ in their ability to utilize affective information to effectively cope with environmental demands and stressors. The present study examines the relationship between styles of attachment and individual differences in the abilities and skills that comprise emotional intelligence. Bartholomew and Horowitz's (1991) Relationship Questionnaire was used to assess attachment style and the BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) was used to measure emotional intelligence. Significant differences were produced in all six of the main analyses and on many of the exploratory comparisons. Overall, secure and dismissing adults performed equally well across most domains (with the exception of the interpersonal area) while the fearful subjects exhibited the lowest levels of emotional intelligence. Preoccupied subjects tended to fall between these extremes. The results tended to lend support to the two-dimensional, four category attachment system devised by Bartholomew. Findings are related to previous research and are highlighted in terms of their possible contribution to developing appropriate intervention strategies for improving deficits in emotional skills and abilities.



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