Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The experience of anxiously attached heterosexual adult women while in romantic relationships: A phenomenological study
by Wood, Catherine R., Ph.D., Capella University, 2013, 351; 3604738
Abstract (Summary)

This phenomenological study sought to answer, "What is the lived experience of anxiously attached, heterosexual women while in relationships?" The lived experiences of 10 participants ranging in age from 32 to 59 were elicited through interviews. The Moustakas transcendental phenomenological reduction methodology, using the modified Van Kaam method (1994) was used to analyze the data. Five main structures emerged. First, relation to self reflected feeling unlovable, defective, and embarrassed to be single. Second, relation to other had six sub-themes. Participants selected partners who were incompatible and non-committal. They had beliefs of idealized relationships, a struggle, and had a fear of being left. Positive feelings at the outset of relationships turned into ongoing upset. Relationship behaviors included trying to relate effectively, having a major focus on their partner, and reinforcing partners' negative behaviors. Relationship termination occurred with reluctance, there were missed cues, anxiety, and ongoing grief and yearning for the partner. They had current insights of unviable relationships that resulted in ongoing upset feelings that should have terminated sooner. The third structure of causality revealed poor relationship role-modeling and parental treatment of the participants that impacted their view of self, others, and relationships. Fourth, bodily concerns reflected a use of sexuality to connect, and sexual dissatisfaction. Fifth, participants were aware of time in and between relationships. Two conclusions relating to the structure of causality and a lack of insight about relationships are discussed. Future qualitative studies were recommended to provide more understanding of anxious and dismissive avoidant attachment styles.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Trunk, Barry
Commitee: Gray, Malcolm C., Henderson, Davis
School: Capella University
Department: Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-B 75/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Ainsworth, Anxious attachment, Attachment theory, Bowlby, Relationships, Romantic attachment
Publication Number: 3604738
ISBN: 978-1-303-60594-9
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