Title

The effects of parental bonding, adult attachment, and levels of psychological distress on the ability to discriminate facial expressions of emotion

Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

William J. Lyddon

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

Previous research in the area of attachment and affect regulation has provided support for the notion that attachment is related to the ability to regulate affect and the ability to regulate affect is related to the ability to accurately perceive facial expressions of emotion. The present study investigated the direct and indirect role that attachment plays in discrimination of facial expressions of emotion. There was no support found for the hypothesis that participants with secure attachment styles were better at discriminating facial expressions of emotion. There was also no support found for the hypothesis that individuals with high levels of psychological distress (poor regulators of affect) would perform worse on a facial discrimination task. Finally, there was no support found for the hypothesis that attachment and current levels of psychological distress exhibit interactive effects on the ability to discriminate facial expressions of emotion. Pertinent methodological and statistical issues, however, cast doubt on the reliability of these findings.