Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2011

Month Degree Awarded

September

Keywords

threat, romantic relationship, cognitive processing, memory

Abstract

This investigation examined the hypothesis that the presence of relationship threat leads to decreased working memory capacity, and also changes partner perceptions based on adult attachment style. To test this hypothesis, participants were exposed to a threat or no-threat manipulation and then completed measures examining partner perceptions and individual differences. Results suggest that the threat manipulation might have been strong enough for only highly anxious people. These individuals showed higher levels of working memory capacity following a relationship threat, compared to more securely attached persons, and later described their partners in more global, less desirable terms, regardless of threat condition. Highly avoidant individuals also described romantic partners in less desirable terms compared to more securely attached persons, regardless of threat condition. Individual difference measures suggest that rejection sensitivity and neuroticism may contribute to how romantic partners are perceived. Implications for future research on relationship threat and partner perceptions are discussed.

First Advisor

Linda M Isbell

Second Advisor

Paula Pietromonaco

Share

COinS