Attachment Styles, Affect Regulation and Interpersonal Problems in Hostel Students

Maria Idrees (MPhil, 2016-2018) Supervisor: Farah Malik, PhD

The current study investigated the association between attachment styles, affect regulation and interpersonal problems in hostel students while taking affect regulation (emotional reactivity and cut-off) as mediator between attachment styles and interpersonal problems. It was hypothesized that anxious and dependent attachment styles would be positively related to emotional reactivity, emotional cut-off and interpersonal problems in hostel students. Further, close attachment style would be negatively related to emotional reactivity, emotional cut-off and interpersonal problems in hostel students. It was also hypothesized that emotional reactivity and cut-off would mediate the relationship between attachment styles and interpersonal problems in hostel students. Differences across genders were also determined. A sample of 200 students living in hostels of two universities of Lahore i.e., University of the Punjab (n = 140) with (men = 80, women = 60) and University of Education (n = 60) with (men = 20, women = 40) were drawn with an age range of 20-25 years (M = 22.3, SD = 1.46) using convenient sampling technique. Urdu versions of Adult Attachment Scale (Collins, 1996), Differentiation of Self Inventory (Skowron & Friedlander, 1998) and Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (Barkham, Hardy, & Startup, 1996) were administered. The results of the Pearson product moment correlation showed close attachment style had significant negative relationship with emotional reactivity and cut-off and with subscales of interpersonal problems, as too much aggressive, too much caring, too much dependent, socially inhibited, hard to be involved, and hard to be supportive. Similarly, anxious and dependent attachment style showed significant positive relationship with emotional reactivity and cut-off and with subscales of interpersonal problems of hard to be sociable, hard to be assertive, hard to be supportive, hard to be involved, too aggressive, much caring, too open and too much dependent in hostel students. Further, Emotional reactivity and cut-off showed significant positive relationship with all subscales of interpersonal problems. The mediation analysis using SEM revealed that emotional reactivity and cut-off showed partially significant mediation between attachment styles and interpersonal problems. Results of independent sample t-test indicated that women living in hostels showed more interpersonal problems as compared to men living in hostels. The findings of the study are discussed in the light of existing literature and Pakistani cultural context.

Keywords: Attachment styles, affect regulation, interpersonal problems, hostel students.

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