Personality Psychology (740)






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03/07/2018

Friedman et al., (2010)

Filed under: Uncategorized — drcb @ 4:21 pm
44 Comments to “Friedman et al., (2010)”
  1. Emnet Gammada says:

    This study examined an interesting relationship between attachment avoidance and culture. While the findings of the study are interesting, I believe they neglected a significant variable (the role of the attachment style of the romantic partner). The participants in this study were university students from Hong Kong, Mexico, and United States and were required to be currently involved in a romantic relationship that has existed for at least three months. While there is a requirement of being a relationship, we do not have any other information regarding the partner besides the participant’s satisfaction. I think that the participant’s partner and their style of attachment may present as a possible moderating/mediating variable here on relationship satisfaction. For instance, if the participant was in a romantic relationship with a securely attached individual or an anxiously attached individual – their ratings of relationship satisfaction can be different. Adult attachment research provides evidence of fears and psychological defenses that characterize insecure attachment styles; where attachment-anxious individuals fear rejection and aloneness, avoidant ones are averse to closeness and interdependence. It would be interesting to examine this across dyads of romantic partners to examine the role of attachment style (avoidant) and cultural fit while looking at the attachment styles of both individuals. That is, to examine the role of dyadic associations in understanding attachment style and cultural fit. I am no familiar with the attachment literature regarding mate selection, and which attachment styles generally “select” for one another. However, if there is assortative mating selection, then the attachment style of the partner should be examined, to elucidate this cross-cultural investigation further.

    • Carly Tocco says:

      Emnet I completely agree with your point about partner “style.” Past research has shown that your partner’s attachment tendencies can influence your own in a relationship as attachment tends to be a bit more fluid than a categorical approach. I also noted that if two people in a collectivistic culture were avoidant, they may not have relationship issues at the romantic level. However, it is possible they may struggle in terms of other types of relationships such as collegial relationships or familial relationships. The inclusion of this variable would have helped tease apart if the cultural aspect remained true regardless of the matching between partner’s attachment.

    • Hande says:

      Emnet,
      I agree with your statement about the role of the attachment style of the romantic partner. When you’re in a romantic partnership you are in constant emotional exchange, positive and negative. Therefore, attachment style could precede the idea of cultural fitness when it comes to relationship satisfaction. Also, the relationship satisfaction could’ve been defined differently. Because, is conflict a negative thing in all cultures?

  2. Carly Tocco says:

    As someone who is familiar with the attachment literature, I personally never considered how attachment avoidance could be viewed differently through the lens of culture. This reminded me of the way collectivistic cultures value feminine traits such as being cooperative and more agreeable, while individualistic cultures value masculine traits such as assertiveness. One issue I found with this paper was the use of attachment “style.” Currently, the research does not refer to attachment as a categorical model and this paper pushes a reader to assume that a person is placed into a category. I appreciated how they used Mexico as the control condition and did not simply put a strongly individualistic culture (US) and a strongly collectivistic culture (Hong Kong). While the findings of this study suggest there is indeed a relationship between attachment avoidance and cultural fit, I was not quite convinced that attachment avoidance paralleled a lack of collectivism. To me, it is possible that a collectivistic society expects harmony, cooperation, and warmth at the macro level overall, but not at the level of an intimate relationship. While the findings of the study stand, I wonder about covariates that could have implicated the research. For example, if the other person in the relationship is ALSO avoidant in nature but in a collectivistic society, I would doubt this would result in decreased relationship satisfaction. Overall, I found the study to offer an interesting theoretical standpoint with solid methods.

    • Lexi Pritchett says:

      Carly I completely agree with your hesitation to accept the idea that attachment avoidance parallels a lack of collectivism. I was thinking about it from the other direction- how it was hard for me to accept that more individualistic cultures place less emphasis on attachment avoidance. I think your line of thinking regarding covariates is excellent, and this would have strengthened the author’s claims significantly.

  3. Karen Abraham says:

    There were a lot of concepts that this article got me interested in. Considering the relationships between culture and attachment fit, I was curious about how the independent vs interdependent cultures arise through an attachment framework, and the distributions of attachment styles in different cultures. In the Hypothesis section of the article, the authors cited research that avoidant and anxious adult attachment styles were more common in Pacific Rim cultures than Western cultures, which was partially replicated in Table 1 in which the two more collectivist countries’ samples had both higher avoidance and anxiety scores. Considering the findings and the main focus of this study, I’m curious to how an attachment style that is a bad cultural fit can be more common in a culture that is less structured for the interpersonal fit of that style. One would think that if a style were a bad fit for romantic relationships, people with those styles would be less likely to produce couples that last long enough to produce lots of kids to pass along their attachment style to, thus lowering the prevalence of those styles, the opposite of what we see here.

    A more nit-picky comment I had was that I wished the authors had described in more detail the item that was accidentally omitted from the Investment Model Scale in one sample. Which subscale did it belong to? If it were the satisfaction subscale, I would be less concerned with it’s omission than if it were the investments or committment subscales. After skimming the measure from its original validation article, some questions are global and others are facet-specific. It would seem that being specific about the item would be useful information. On a personal level, I can hardly imagine the effort to organize an international multi-site study and then have a photocopying error or something lead to the omission of ONE item on a key scale for one site. I get anxious just thinking about it.

    • Susie McHugh says:

      Karen I agree with your anxiety over this – I thought it was odd that the authors didn’t explain which items were left out, or why some Likert scales were longer than others. I would have preferred some more details on these revisions.

    • drcb says:

      Other attachment work on cross-cultural distributions found higher anxiety in Asian samples (You & Malley-Morrison, 2000; Wang & Mallinckrodt, 2006), lower avoidance in African countries (True, Pisani, & Oumar, 2001; Tomlinson et al., 2005), and higher anxiety/lower avoidance in Israel (Sagi, Koren-Karie, Gini, Ziv, & Joels, 2002).

  4. Chalana says:

    Relationship challenges have in many instances attributed to personality differences
    rather than culture and other social aspects. By definition, relationship is an emotional
    attachment between two different people. These people can either be blood relatives or just
    friends from two or more origins and cultures. In this article, Friedman et al. (2010) examined
    the impact of attachment avoidance on relationship outcomes. Specifically, the study sought to
    examine the personality differences and relationship problems. Critically, two people with
    different personalities cannot relate well. In most cases, such people fight or disagree most of the
    time in their discussions. Psychologically, avoiding problems in a relationship is built on good
    understanding between the individuals involves. On a personal account, two people with very
    distinct personalities cannot relate well because it is very hard for them to agree on a particular
    aspect.

    Friedman et al. (2010) based their study on attachment between individuals in a
    relationship. As stated above, a relationship is always an emotional attachment between two
    individuals. According to the authors, without the attachment a relationship cannot exist. In this
    regard, Friedman et al. (2010) had examined the emotional attachment before analyzing the
    personality differences. In many cases psychologists have suggested that people having
    relationship problems avoid being attached and living in two separate locations as a way of
    solving their problems. This is, however, always not effective because a relationship is
    emotionally driven. In a nutshell, there are some societies, such as those in Hong Kong and
    Mexico particularly studied by the authors, where attachment avoidant is used to avoid
    relationship problems. On contrary, in other societies as in the USA, avoiding emotional
    attachment does not solve or cause relationship problems. It is in most cases caused by cultural
    and personality differences. Critically, a relationship is based on an understanding between two
    people.

    • Emnet Gammada says:

      Dear Chalana, it’s interesting you state: “a relationship is always an emotional attachment between two individuals”. I would disagree with this statement. As a relationship simply involves a connection – what that connection entails can vary across a myriad of relationships. For instance there are many spheres in your life where you can have a relationship that does not involve emotional intimacy (e.g., your relationship with your: banker, landlord, fellow commuters on a train).

    • Gabriella Robinson says:

      I find your post interesting in that it makes me wonder the “why” in: why there are differences in mean levels of anxiety and avoidance, as found in the data of this study. In terms of are the individuals “choosing” to avoid (in their relationships) as it seems you might be suggesting or at least made me think of, or is it more an unconscious attachment style. Our textbook argues that Bowlby thought of it as occurring at a cortical level both unconscious and conscious, but the also argues that at the conscious level some of our behaviors become habitual-automatic and defensive maneuvers.

    • Gabriella Robinson says:

      Chalana, I find your post interesting in that it makes me wonder the “why” in: why there are differences in mean levels of anxiety and avoidance, as found in the data of this study. In terms of are the individuals “choosing” to avoid (in their relationships) as it seems you might be suggesting or at least made me think of, or is it more an unconscious attachment style. Our textbook argues that Bowlby thought of it as occurring at a cortical level both unconscious and conscious, but the also argues that at the conscious level some of our behaviors become habitual-automatic and defensive maneuvers.

    • Melissa Henao says:

      Hi Chalana, I actually do agree with you when you say a relationship is always an emotional attachment between individuals. As our classmate Emnet mention in his reply to your post, there are different relationships that do not involve emotional intimacy. However, relationships that do not have any sort of emotional attachment, are not considered relationships to me. I would not consider someone like my banker someone I have a relationship with. They would just be someone I know. Without the emotional component, there is no attachment.For example, I would not really care if my banker changed because there is not emotional attachment between us. Only similarity me and my banker have is that we are both interested in my funds, thats about it. Which leads me to wonder how much personality differences play a part with our relationships. I’m sure someone who cared an extreme amount about their money, would consider their banker as someone very important to them. I know I went a little off topic but I found your post and its replies very interesting.

    • drcb says:

      “two people with very distinct personalities cannot relate well”

      Research suggests otherwise, since couples have generally been found to not be similar in their personalities. However, when it comes to values, what you say is correct.

  5. Pashminder Kaur says:

    In the article, Attachment avoidance and the cultural fit hypothesis: A cross cultural investigation, purposed to examine the impact of attachment avoidance on relationship outcomes between Hong Kong, Mexico and U.S. Friedman (2010) mentioned that various researches have shown that closeness and harmony was revealed more in collectivist (Mexico and Hong Kong) than individualistic (U.S). It was interesting how they observed a relationship through attachments of avoidance and anxiety. An individual who are highly avoidance, tend to be careless about their partner and try to avoid them as much as possible; whereas an individual who are highly anxious, usually cling onto their partner when wanting support and care.
    I was surprised with the results that were found in the article; the associations between avoidance attachment and relation problems were stronger in Hong Kong and Mexico than in the U.S. The reason being for these results was that the expectation in the relationship was not being met. However, these results were based off of students sample in each culture, which needed to be in relationship at least for 3 months; which in my opinion is not a sufficient time to know your partner. In addition, the study should’ve focused more on married couples where they have been with their partner for a longer period of time. That being said, the researcher should extend the study by focusing on secure attachment and compare the results.
    Being an Asian, I have heard many stories about Indian couples who weren’t satisfied with their relationship, but must stay loyal towards their husband and family; regardless of any situation. Back in the days, women weren’t allowed to choose the type of lifestyle they wanted to have after marriage. They were told to quit jobs and take of the house as well as their children. As Friedman (2010) described in the discussion section, “becoming “trapped” in a caretaker was one of the greatest fear” as what I perceived in the story that was told to me.

    • Chalana says:

      I agree with you pashminder. This was actually my thought when I read that the study sought to
      examine the personality differences and relationship problems. How can you examine a relationship, when the subjects themselves don’t know enough about each other to form any real attachment.

    • Emela Nurja says:

      Pashminder,

      I like the example you brought up. Everywhere around the world even in todays ages relationships are sought differently. I know growing up in Europe and even today relationships are build through commitment, trust and loyalty. For many women their jobs were and still consists of taking care of the husband, making sure theres food on the table and loyalty. Affection for one another out in public was never truly seen, matter of fact it wasn’t “appropriate.” Many would probably consider that type of relationship loveless, however, this is how these individuals were raised and this is what they knew growing up. Though the young generation has changed many “rules” as I had mentioned in my post I would of really liked to see how some European countries would score on these aspects.

    • Tiara Newson says:

      I completely agree Pash, I believe they should have did comparisons in regards to the time frame the couples were together. Also focusing on marriages would have been an excellent idea, especially world wide, because it’s true that avoidance just may be different for marriages, and during the different stages of marriage.

  6. Tiara Newson says:

    While reading the article I felt this topic was excellent for psychological investigation. The role avoidance trait has in negative aspects of the relationship is very important. I feel that the authors did a good job conducting the experiment they sought to conduct between different cultures and countries in regards to avoidance in a romantic relationship. The findings were great for basically receiving validation for something that most would probably already assume, that high avoidance levels of attachment will hinder a romantic relationship worldwide. Throughout the article I just felt that this was something I would already assume, which is good that they were able to give evidence to this, but I feel more investigation should have went into the study to enlighten us on information we wouldn’t already have the answer to. I just would have liked to be informed a little more on the area. Maybe they could have looked further into if the amount of time the couple were together was a factor. I would have even liked to learn about the comparison with other forms of relationships. I did, however, find the results to be beneficial to the idea that attachment is the same or at least similar in every county. I believe it brought validation to attachment being the same in every culture or country, but according to the study this only validates romantic attachment, not other relationships. It was a very simple study which is okay but I did not feel I learned anything new or discovered more on something I already new about. I do hope they will look more into this to develop more info on avoidance being world wide in regards to all close relationships. I would really like to know this.

    • Mahathi Kosuri says:

      Tiara– I also felt the same as you. I felt that the findings were something I would already assume. I agree that there was so many possible hypotheses that could have been explored further in depth but I don’t think were there yet in terms of viewing culture as a part of psychology. I felt like I learned something new but not astoundingly different – but I think that research doesnt always have to be about making those new discoveries and could be argued that confirming a suspicion could be just as powerful? Maybe?

    • Pashminder Kaur says:

      Tiara,

      I agree with this opinion, the amount of time the couple were together, could be a major factor. As i mentioned in my blog, 3 months is not a sufficient amount of time to know your partner. It takes a long time to really get to know your partner, at least for 1 year. Also, the researchers focused on students, not married couples, that is another factor that should be taken into consideration. Students were in school, maybe their result were based of their stress level in school and took it out in their relationship? There are many limitation to this study, that should be taken into consideration for the future researchers.

  7. Katie Dana says:

    While I found the theoretical aspects of this paper to be very interesting and pertinent to the personality literature, I did have some concerns about certain aspects of the methodology. One issue I noticed was the variation between samples in both relationship length and age, particularly between the US and Mexico samples. The mean length of relationship for the US sample was 17.22 months (1.4 years). In contrast, the Mexico samples had a mean relationship length of 28.70 months (2.4 years). I wonder if this difference in mean relationship length could create a potential confound, as presumably there would be differences in relationship satisfaction related to how long one has been in a romantic relationship with their partner. For example, perhaps someone who is prone to avoidant tendencies would feel more secure after 2 and a half years compared to how they felt when the relationship was relatively new. On the other hand, perhaps more problems related to avoidant attachment would emerge as time went on in the relationship (longer relationship length), while avoidant tendencies might not be as damaging to the relationship early on (shorter relationship length).

    I also had some concerns about the mean age differences between the Mexico sample and the US sample. The average age for the Mexico sample was 23.34 years, while the average age for the US sample was 19.03 years. While four years might not appear to be a large difference later in adulthood, it seems to me that it could be a potential confound in emerging adulthood, when people are continuing to solidify their identities and life trajectories. Perhaps some avoidant tendencies are more likely in relationships with younger people due in part to not wanting to “settle down” or not having learned how to have a healthy relationship. While this is purely speculative, it is still possible that this difference in mean ages could be a confounding factor in this study.

    • Daniel Saldana says:

      Katie, your comment made me take a second look at all of the descriptive statistics in the study. I realized that, when taking a closer look, the U.S, on average, had lower avoidance, lower anxiety, higher relationship satisfaction, higher social support, higher investment, and lower relationship conflict than both the Hong Kong and Mexico samples. I think you are definitely on the right track in speculating that the age differences might play a role here. The study specified that a limitation was that they sampled college students, but I wonder about college students who are 23 years old. Not being familiar with the educational system in Mexico, at first glance, it seems like a higher age than most American colleges. I can imagine that students’ priorities may be different at 23 than at 19. Further, I agree that the differences in relationship length could play a role. In fact, I would venture to hypothesize that it is a combination of both age and relationship length. Specifically, I would guess that avoidance attachment style starts to more strongly negatively correlate with relationship dissatisfaction the older you are and the longer you have been in a relationship, as well as whether your culture is collectivistic or individualistic. I believe, at a certain point, regardless of cultural background, relationship length and concurrent avoidant attachment style would be strongly negatively correlated. Thus, perhaps the results of this study (e.g., the difference we see based on individualist vs. collectivist cultures) may only pertain to relatively short-term relationships of one to two years.

    • drcb says:

      “perhaps more problems related to avoidant attachment would emerge as time went on in the relationship”

      You’re on to something!

      http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.828.8685&rep=rep1&type=pdf

  8. Caroline Nester says:

    The Friedman et al (2010) article has a very intriguing premise and I find that it builds wonderfully on concepts we have previously discussed in the class. While reading it I kept finding myself thinking about attachment styles and how their presentation and consequences differs based on the situation (which in the case of this article is culture). This course has lead me to begin seeing the interplay of situation and traits in almost every scenario. I find the multicultural approach that this research employs to be interesting and a significant contribution to the cross-cultural literature – the authors assert that they are one of the first to consider the nuanced relationship between cultural-fit (to individualistic vs collectivistic societies) and the outcomes of avoidant attachments within relationships. However, I have some concerns with the way the authors explored these outcome measures cross-culturally. All of the measures that were used in this study were developed in the United States, in English, and were translated to be employed in Hong Kong or Mexico. I find this to be problematic, given that such measures might be biased to favor American respondents. They were developed presumably without control of the influences of Western culture and social norms – the measures might therefore favor Western, individualistic ideals, over collectivistic ones, in their psychometric properties. Just looking at table 1 reveals that United States respondents have better averages on all measures than both Hong Kong and Mexico – could it be that the questionnaires themselves are inflating a false distinction between these cultures simply because of the measures employed in this study? The authors did not provide enough information about their questionnaires for the reader to be able to clarify if these essential outcome measures can truly generalize cross-culturally. Moreover, while I know it is the most common practice in the field of psychology to use undergraduates as research participants, I take special issue with this in the case of this specific study. One could argue that the college age relationships and attachments are somewhat unique and perhaps immature when compared in the light of the rest of the adult life. I feel that a more mature participant pool might generate more generalizable results about adult relationship attachment styles.

    • Karen Abraham says:

      Caroline, I’m really into your comment about the college student sample being particularly problematic for a relationship study. I would add that this is especially problematic in a cross-cultural study. While I’m familiar with some of the norms for relationships during the college years in the US, I would find it extremely useful for the authors to address the cultural norms around student dating in each of the countries examined for this study. While this may not be true of everybody’s experience, I see student dating in the US to be more of an exploratory and agentic period for American students, but other countries might have more traditional dating environments or may view romantic relationships as distractions from studying. That may lead them to approach the intimacy of their relationships differently and create different avenues for relationship dissatisfaction. I would hope that relationship norms for the entire US would not be represented solely by the students of one college sample, and I assume the same would be true of Hong Kong and Mexico.

  9. Emela Nurja says:

    I found this article rather interesting considering that I never thoroughly thought about taking the importance of cultural fit into perspective when studying the consequences of secure versus insecure attachment among relationships. Though this article put emphases on US, Hong Kong and Mexican cultures I would definitely be interested in knowing how European countries play a role in this aspect considering that so many countries have such a different style. When looking into the US participant pole I question how accurate these participants actually were considering that the US is full of different cultures. It is hard not to think about the fact that some of those participants might have been heavily influenced by their own cultures outside of the US when it came to relationships. With that said, there is a chance results among US relationships might have been skewed due to that reason.
    In the article they also mention that the investment subscale was not given to one group of participants, due to this omission results ended up under one total investment score. My concern regarding this is that results for investment might be too broad in the sense that higher scores are indicating multiple concerns such as larger investments, lower quality of relationship as well as greater relationship commitment and satisfaction. I personally would have liked to see how individuals scored separately on those above aspects. In a sense I feel there is some kind of contradiction because it is measurements are indicating lower quality relationship and commitment and satisfaction at the same time. However, I felt that results regarding relationship length and investment was accurate since the longer you are with someone the more committed you become to that partner and the relationship all together.

    • Melissa Chavez says:

      Emela,

      I was also curious to know more about the participants. How can we really measure the culture of United States culture when there’s so many? However now looking back at the article I think perhaps this is why they used college students. College students in the United States do have individualistic skills or at least adapt to them in school if coming from diverse backgrounds with different beliefs, morals, traditions etc . So maybe thats one of looking at it, but I do agree there can be a selection bias in this experiment.

    • Mahathi Kosuri says:

      I had the same thought! (wrote about it in my post too)The US group has so many cultures and I couldn’t help but think that what if some of those people were first-gen individuals from Hong Kong or Mexico. I didn’t think of it the way you did- asking people about relationship length, investment, and satisfaction at the same time and how those variables can be confounded. And how those things may be separately defined in our romantic relationships.

  10. Hande says:

    The article by Friedman et al., was an interesting article to read. I found the study straight forward and the cross-cultural investigation even made it more thought-provoking. Attachment theory suggests that past relationships with our primary caregivers, especially in early developmental years, influence how we respond in relationship situations throughout our lives. How we bond and interact with our attachment figures is an indication of how our future adult relationships will be. Attachment theory looks at how people react to stress that is caused by separation in social situations. In adults, it is often examined in terms of “anxiety” and “avoidance.” Anxiety refers to how likely a person thinks it is that a partner will be available and supportive in a time of need, whereas avoidance refers to the extent to which a person maintains social distance from others. Naturally, these dimensions are originated due to our relationships with our first attachment figures, such as primary caregivers. Highly avoidant individuals learned to avoid rejection by attachment figures by maintaining an emotional and social distance and independence, whereas individuals that are highly anxious believe that their attachment figures may abandon them either physically or emotionally. Friedman et al., looked at the individual differences with relationships in 3 different cultures and found that avoidant attachment style was more strongly associated with relationship problems in collectivist cultures, because more emphasis is placed on harmony and closeness in collectivist cultures. They also pointed to limitations of their study and I believe they were on point with all of their suggestions especially the fact that Eastern cultures may not use the Likert scale as Western counterparts do, like using the extreme endpoints. But, I also think the scales they used may affect these 3 cultures differently. For instance, some questions may be downplayed by collectivist or individualistic cultures. Additionally, even though they talked about the limitations of using a student sample, I strongly believe the results of the study would have been very different if they had used an older population. Lastly, perhaps I am personally interested (as a foreign born but living here most of my life) it would be interesting to see the results using the same cultures but living in the US like, Mexican-Americans or Chinese-Americans. I believe they would fall somewhere between the individualistic and collectivistic culture.

    • Safa Shehab says:

      I agree with your suggestion to investigate these relationships in non-natives in each of these cultures, and suspect that acculturation would also play a role. Another level can include looking at differences in relationship qualities and attachment between different combination of non-native and native dyads.

  11. Safa Shehab says:

    One of this study’s findings that stood out was that there were higher levels of individuals with avoidant attachment styles in the two more collectivistic cultures of Hong Kong and Mexico, while this attachment style in these cultures has a higher negative association with relationship satisfaction. Of note is that, although they explain that this finding can be related to the more authoritarian parenting style in Eastern cultures, they do not provide any hypothesis as to why it is the case in Mexico where arguably parenting styles might not actually be more authoritarian. Also, although the authors offer a convincing explanation of this counterintuitive finding in terms of parenting styles and prescriptive versus descriptive norms, this makes me question, if attachment style in relationships is proposed to be a product of early attachment styles – not of cultural norms, why do we expect that relationship expectations should be dictated by culture norms and not by the attachment style we have learned? Another incongruence I question is that if avoidant style in relationships is more normative in the collectivistic societies, then it is probable that learning from attachment affects relationship functioning more than normative prescriptive societal norms. In fact, maybe people generally tend to have different relationship styles in these cultures than in United States culture. It follows that there is a potential issue with measurement of relationship characteristics, such as relationship satisfaction and perception of supportiveness, according to United States standards of what relationships should look like. Although these scales seem to have high consistency ratings in these 2 other cultures, they may have omitted to measure relationship factors that are important in creating satisfaction in relationships that may not have been considered to be of value in United States culture. For example, agreement with partner’s family might be a significant factor to be considered in relationship satisfaction in a collectivist culture that may have been overlooked in the originally created scale. This is particularly notable and alluded to by the findings showing more relationship satisfaction and perceived support in the United States than Hong Kong, for example.
    Lastly, what about people with secure attachment? It would have been interesting to have a comparison between secure and insecure attachments, and to see if securely attached people in more collectivistic cultures would have same pattern of relationship satisfaction as secure people in the Unites States. I would suspect that if the culture fit hypothesis is at play, more secure individuals should be more satisfied in their relationships in collectivistic societies?

    • Aditya Kulkarni says:

      Hey Safa, I found your insight into the effects of early parenting versus those of cultural norms to be highly illuminating, especially because this very interaction circumscribes the thresholds of developmental versus social psychology in how much each can account for variance without the other. I especially found your insight into certain specialist factors, such as the importance of fit into another’s family for say a person in India, versus the general jiving of two individuals in the United States, to be incredibly important, and a clear indication yet again of how futile the attempts are for people not exposed to certain parts of the world to generalize about them. That being said, humans at some basal level are equivalent in motivation, and I highly appreciated how much insight they had into the avoidant attachment style and how this was affected by cultural norms. My gripe would be that had they included a covariate of SES, then they could perhaps capture to which individuals cultural norms allows attachment style to be expressed, with higher SES in a globalized, separated from tradition style, and lower SES limited by tradition. I was reminded of Cuperman & Ickes, with two disagreeables being the worst combination; would two avoidance and two secures be different?

    • drcb says:

      “Lastly, what about people with secure attachment?”

      Since attachment is measured on a continuum in this paper, you can conceptualize the low ends of anxiety and avoidance as being secure attachment.

  12. Gabriella Robinson says:

    I enjoyed that the article gave me a perspective concerning the cultural influences on the concepts learned in the textbook; as Bowlby emphasized that social interactions are key to our motivation (goal-directed behaviors) and personality development, with attachment being a key influence in guiding our behavior thus causing/reflecting individual differences amongst people. In reading the article it made me reflect on how Bowlby/the attachment theorists purport that attachment with a key caretaker and our environment are key sources of our individual differences (i.e. that individual differences being largely a result of secure vs insecure attachment), but simultaneously propose that they would operate in a consistent manner across cultures. The specific point articulated that made my mind wonder is the idea that culture shapes our environment and the relationships we have (seemingly the same “person-environment transactions” Bowlby professed as discussed in our textbook), so shouldn’t it play a larger role than that which it seemingly gets credit in attachment theory. Emphasis on “larger,” as in terms of this article did indeed eventually go on to say that culture did have an effect on the magnitude, and which sub-outcomes (i.e. what specific negative aspects of the negative relationship outcome). And also as an aside toward the end of the conclusion, they mention cultural differences in parent-child interaction could explain the differences in mean levels of avoidance and anxiety; in line with this statement, acknowledging that studies are limited in funding and must test a limited number of specific hypotheses, I think it also would have been interesting to get some information on the quality of the relationships that these students have with their parents. I think this could have either building upon the case they eventually made for attachment theory on the whole being disguisable aside from culture, more info on parent-child relationship would’ve convinced me (i.e. been able to tease apart) the statistical contributions of attachment classification vs culture (i.e influence of “attachment” specifically vs cultural contributions). There is however no denying that they made a case for supporting the cultural fit hypothesis in terms of the magnitude of individual differences being stronger in instances of incongruity with a groups culture.

  13. Melissa Chavez says:

    According to Friedman et al., (2010) attachment avoidance is highly identified with relationship complications in more cultures that emphasize the commitment in-group priorities (Hong Kong and Mexico) than in an independent one (United States). With this in mind, the results in this study were predicated correctly in that; correlations bounded by avoidant attachment and relationships compilations were substantial in Hong King and Mexico than in the United States.

    I found this article to be appealing, particularly with the idea that the way society views relationships can connect to how we are towards our own relationships. However once I saw that this article was published in 2010, I wonder now that 2018 is populated with so many different opinions on relationships on social media if it would be considered the same. In other words, now that individuals consume social media/networks even more now, we can say that people have change in terms of how they think and behave now that there is an added web based social universe (third variable/confound). Now that we have this web based social universe where people from other countries can share their own personal stories and their own thoughts on anything, can this experiment still be considered true? I say that because it seems that it can threaten the validity of this experiment if the methods were to be replicated.

    I am interested to know more about how culture affects relationships. I feel that this article could have clarified more on how culture can be measured specifically in the United States. I say this because United States itself is known to be diverse so I wonder if they chose participants with a specific race/ethnicity or did they just had to be American citizens.

    • Ashley Olivera says:

      You make a compelling argument, in which we can’t really account findings that were found 8 years ago. Times change along with people. Perhaps the same cannot be said in this point in time because of the way in which society and social media (television, magazines, books, etc) affects our views on relationships almost everyday. Along with societal views, ones’ priorities also change which may strongly affect how one goes into a new relationship. I also like how you brought up the point that the United States is one big “melting pot” of cultures and that the current study didn’t emphasize which culture was being measured. Something that should strongly be considered in future research studies.

  14. Lexi Pritchett says:

    When reading this I couldn’t help but think of an adolescent I worked with who was told by her family to only date within her cultural circle. This was a major point of contention between their “old” way of thinking and her more “progressive” views on relationships, and this issue came up repeatedly in therapy. So, this article was spot-on in defining how incongruence between individual characteristics and cultural norms can generate negative outcomes. However, I wonder if there are moderators of this. For instance, does baseline anxiety predict who is affected by this disparity. If this adolescent patient wasn’t as anxious as she was, would she have been as affected by the disparity?

    I would argue that places like the United States wouldn’t really emphasize emotional distance as much as say Japan. I’m still unsure how emotional distance and independence are used kind of interchangeably in this article, since to me they represent very different constructs. There seemed to be a leap that the researchers made from couples in eastern cultures valuing commitment and loyalty in relationships to valuing higher emotional closeness. I also just kept thinking of all my American friends’ online dating gripes about the partners they’ve met being emotionally distant for longer than expected (given repeated interactions). I found it hard to imagine that an individualistic culture would react less negatively (even though I’m aware that these were the findings). To me, the negative consequences of avoidance on relationship dissatisfaction seems like it would be universal. Although I’m having a hard time believing it, it was really interesting that this study broke down the different aspects of poor relationship satisfaction and found differential effects of avoidance.

    • drcb says:

      “the negative consequences of avoidance on relationship dissatisfaction seems like it would be universal”

      It seems most likely, and here the authors found that pattern in 3 countries, just to varying degrees.

  15. Mahathi Kosuri says:

    This article’s purpose was striking different than other literature I have read related to attachment theory. One of the major qualms I have had with attachment theory (not pertaining to adults) is the lack cultural context when determining the relationship between mother and child. So, it is wonderful to see that research on attachment does in fact branch out! Kudos! I thought the concept of this hypothesis was also fairly interesting, and was delineated with caution with respect to not assuming that avoidance attachment styles were different across cultures, but that the consequences of avoidance behavior will be contingent on the culture of the person. A small detail that I was curious to know about was the sample in the United States- what were the demographics of those 214 participants? Were some of them in interracial relationships? The United States, being the “most individualistic” country should have expanded more on their demographics being that were a diverse country that hosts first generation immigrants (of both the other countries). Were the Chinese-American and/or Mexican- American relationships somehow different than were the relationships style of the Hong Kong and Mexico sample? Furthermore, I was curious about whether peoples’ relationship history and or sexuality would have an impact on their relationship style. (Though these details may not be pertinent to the overall hypothesis.) Regarding the findings, I was not at all surprised that the association between anxiety and relationship satisfaction was higher in both Mexico and Hong Kong than in the United States. I think this speaks to the crux of the articles query.

    • Caroline Nester says:

      Mahathi, I agree with you whole heartedly! I think considering cultural context and the interplay of attachment/mother child relations is essential and really interesting. I am also fascinated by considering the demographic breakdown of the US population… that is a serious weakness of this article that I did not recognize until you pointed it out. It would be interesting to examine 1st generation attachment style/relationship outcomes vs those who’s ancestors have lived in the US for multiple generations…

      • Pashminder Kaur says:

        Mahathi and Caroline,

        I didn’t realize the demographic breakdown as well considering that US is one of the diverse country! I agree with you guys, its one of the weakest point in the article, which i didn’t realize till now. Very interesting!

  16. Ashley Olivera says:

    Ashley Olivera
    Friedman et al., (2010)

    The following study focused on individual differences in avoidant romantic relationships among collectivist and individualist cultures. I wasn’t surprised to find attachment avoidance was higher among collectivist cultures than individualist cultures considering collectivist cultures focused more on promoting harmony than romantic love. I feel that it is essential to keep that romantic spark alive for a relationship to successfully flourish. If the co-called “honeymoon stage” ends too quickly, the partners’ need for interaction and closeness which is essential to a healthy relationship also ends.

    Friedman et al (2010) also found that women were more invested in their relationship than men. This could be due to the innate motherly nature women tend to possess, in caring and providing for one’s young. Cultural differences may have to do with the differences in parenting styles. It is mentioned that eastern cultures tend to have a more authoritarian parenting style. This parenting style may be too strict when it comes to providing sufficient amounts of attention to the child, which will introduce an insecurely avoidant attachment style, which will in turn create an unstable and anxious child.

    Avoidant people tend to be less empathic and generally put in less effort in maintaining their relationship and more effort on their own self-fulfillment. This constant need for attention and gratification may become overwhelming for their partner, which can cause the relationship to fail. In a way, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The avoidant individual has the constant feeling of being abandoned, resulting in the insecure, avoidant individual to latch on to their partner to the point where the partner starts to feel as if they’re suffocating in the relationship. This will inevitably result in the partner leaving the unhealthy relationship. There must be a healthy balance between closeness and distance among partners for a romantic relationship to prosper.

    • drcb says:

      Hi Ashley,

      In your last paragraph, you seem to be confusing features of attachment anxiety (need for attention, fear of being abandonment, latching onto partners) with avoidance.

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