The Impact of Sex and Gender in the Relationships Among Attachment, Romantic Jealousy, and Varying Forms of Aggression in Adult Romantic Relationships
Author(s)Warber, Kathleen Marie
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AbstractThis study seeks to explicate the impact of sex and gender in the relationships among attachment, romantic jealousy, and aggression. Attachment theory (e.g., Bowlby, 1969) posits that unique attachment styles develop based on experiences with primary caregiver(s). These attachment styles (e.g., secure, preoccupied, dismissing, and fearful) are enduring, and come to define attachment in adult romantic relationships (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1992; Hazan & Shaver, 1987). Attachment theory argues that differences in jealousy in adult romantic relationships are a function of attachment style (e.g., Guerrero, 1998). Similarly, attachment frameworks explain aggression (e.g., physical, verbal, and indirect/social/relational) as a function of attachment style, suggesting that these constructs (both aggression and jealousy) are borne from early childhood experiences. Theories that posit sex and gender differences, however, argue that aggression and jealousy are rooted in biological (i.e., sex-linked), evolutionary (i.e., adaptive), and social (i.e., learned) explanations of how men and women differ.This study aims to examine these theoretical perspectives in an attempt to further understand how differences between the two (attachment and sex/gender theories) can be explained. Results from this study indicate that sex and gender are unique, and do have differential effects on the relationships among attachment, aggression, and romantic jealousy in romantic relationships. Though the moderating effects of sex and gender are not always strong, findings from this study suggest that biology, evolution, and socialization likely interact and influence variability in attachment, aggression, and romantic jealousy.