Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Studies


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Geoff Leatham


Attachment theory begins with the assumption that adults enter relationships with well-developed mental representations of self and others that regulate cognitive, affective, and behavioral response patterns in close relationships. It has been studied extensively in the past, and it addresses an impressive array of research questions concerning the functions, emotional dynamics, evolutionary origins, and developmental pathways of human affectional bonds. Joint identity has been studied in terms of its involvement and impact on the process of being "in love", relational satisfaction, and interpersonal closeness. Joint identity is the extent to which one self-identifies as an autonomous individual, or connected as part of a couple, which involves one's personal definition and presentation of self.

Given that previous research has established certain personality traits and interpersonal strengths and weaknesses that are commonly associated with each attachment style it is hypothesized that one's attachment style has an impact on one's tendency towards joint identity. Given the personality traits and characteristics embodied by each attachment style, it is also hypothesized that individuals will be more likely to form joint identities with a partner of a certain attachment style over another.

Results indicated that attachment style similarity between partners is not indicative of a higher level of joint identity reported. A negative correlation exists between the anxiety scale of attachment style and joint identity. Joint identity as a dependant variable can be treated as a personal perception rather than a relational construct. Limitations, implications and directions for future research are discussed.



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