Attachment reorganization following divorce: normative processes and individual differences.


Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


This paper uses attachment theory as a lens for reviewing contemporary research on how adults cope with marital separation and loss. The first section of the paper discusses the process of normative attachment reorganization, or the psychology of adaptive grief responses following relationship transitions. We argue that changes two processes, in particular, can be uses to track changes in this normative reorganization process: narrative coherence and self-concept clarity. The second section of the paper suggest that individual differences in attachment anxiety and avoidance shape the variability in this normative reorganization process, largely as a result of the characteristic ways in which these styles organize emotion-regulatory tendencies. The paper closes with a series of integrative questions for future research, including a call for new studies aimed at understanding under what contexts anxiety and avoidance may be adaptive in promoting emotion recovery to separation and divorce experiences.

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