Attachment Anxiety Mitigates the Well-Being Costs of Object Attachment

Document Type


Publication Date





© 2020 Hogrefe Publishing. Clinical and personality research consistently demonstrates that people can form unhealthy and problematic attachments to material possessions. To better understand this tendency, the current paper extends past research demonstrating that anxieties about other people motivate these attachments. These findings suggest that although object attachment generally correlates with poorer well-being, it may attenuate well-being deficits associated with insecurity about close relationships. The current paper presents two studies using converging correlational (N = 394) and diary methods (N = 413) to test whether object attachments' association with poorer well-being is moderated by relationship uncertainties. We find that both trait (Study 1) and state (Study 2) insecurities about others eliminated, and in some cases reversed, the negative psychological correlates of object attachment. These effects, however, were only observed when focusing on between-person variation in both studies; within-person analysis demonstrated that state variation in object attachment predicted better psychological well-being. These results highlight a need for more nuanced studies of object attachment and well-being.

Publication Title

Journal of Individual Differences

Find in your library