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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



A wealth of research demonstrates a strong link between insecure attachment and depressive symptoms. However, thus far no work has discerned different pathways to depression for each of the insecure subtypes: anxious and avoidant attachment. This work looks at the behaviors that couples engage in during a conflict interaction as a potential mediator for the attachment-depression relationship, with different behaviors mediating the link between anxious and avoidant attachment and depression. For anxiously attached individuals, it was predicted that lack of support and response from the partner (actual or perceived) would account for the relationship between their attachment and depressive symptoms. While for avoidant individuals, it was predicted that partners’ hostile behaviors would account for a positive association between attachment and depression, but humor and relationship-enhancing behaviors would account for a negative association between attachment and depression. Results from this work indicated that for anxiously attached women, their perceptions of their partners’ responsiveness and their partners’ actual hostility mediated the link between their attachment and depressive symptoms.


First Advisor

Paula R Pietromonaco