Dynamics of Romantic Love: Attachment, Caregiving, and Sex

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A theoretically and empirically rich exploration of universal questions, this book examines the interplay of three distinct behavioral systems involved in romantic love. Leading attachment researchers are joined by proponents of other perspectives, including interdependence theory and self-expansion theory, to review the current state of knowledge in the field. Presented are compelling new studies that address intimacy, jealousy, self-disclosure, sexual behavior, partner violence, and other processes in both satisfying and dysfunctional relationships. Special topics include gender differences in attachment as well as attachment dynamics within same-sex couples.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Susan Richardson, MA, PsyD (Private Practice)
Description: This book is a theoretical expansion of Bowlby's attachment theory to examine romantic love in the context of three dynamics: attachment, caring and sexual behavior. It is the outgrowth of a birthday party/conference in honor of Dr. Phil Shaver, a pioneer in this theoretical development.
Purpose: This is a review of the current thinking, research, and direction of the field of study Dr. Shaver initiated with his 1987 article on romantic love viewed as an attachment process. The book's contributors were speakers at a 2004 conference on the subject and their included work here is a representation of their presentation. The book certainly meets the objectives of the editors and all involved in the conference, but its audience is fairly limited.
Audience: It is written mainly for academics interested in attachment theory. It is appropriate for graduate psychology courses on attachment theory. The authors also feel it would be useful for clinicians working with couples, but it is essentially an academic work.
Features: The book begins with a highly personal account of the inception of the conference and a lively description of Dr. Shaver who is credited with being a pioneer in this theory. Subsequent chapters are structured around the dynamics of the interplay of romantic love with attachment, caregiving and sex. The book concludes with a very interesting chapter written by Dr. Shaver about future directions of these ideas as well as commentary on content from other writers.
Assessment: Although some of the writers fail to make their ideas compelling, most do a good job of advancing a theory. This book will be well regarded in a graduate classroom, but links to more practical clinical applications are still needed for clinical practitioners to appreciate this book.
From the Publisher

"This volume provides clear evidence of how far research in adult attachment has progressed in the last 20 years. The authors reveal great depth in theorizing, creativity in the application of methodologies, and a focus on a broader range of variables than ever before. Essential reading for all serious students of adult attachment."--Pat Noller, PhD, School of Psychology (Emeritus), University of Queensland, Australia

"Attachment theory is changing the world of social and clinical psychology, and this volume--with its rich general understanding and its ability to offer specific insights into the territory of relationships--is a fine example of the ever-expanding horizons of attachment theory and research. The book builds on the work of Phillip Shaver, who has led the field for two decades and who offers a transforming vision of adult attachment. The reader will find conceptual clarity, descriptions of fascinating research, and clinical wisdom on every page."--Susan M. Johnson, EdD, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Canada

"This outstanding volume updates and expands the groundbreaking research methodology and conceptual framework that has allowed psychologists to examine adult romantic relationships as attachments. It wasn't too long ago that this was viewed as a radical notion! With a solid understanding of attachment theory's roots in the fields of biology and evolution, the contributing authors make a significant advance by underscoring the ways in which attachment components of romantic relationships are interwoven with caregiving and sexuality. This volume offers key insights to researchers and clinicians interested in fully understanding the complexities of that 'crazy little thing called love.'"--Jude Cassidy, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park

The Family Psychologist

"A comprehensive edited collection of romantic relationship research, addressing romantic love by examining the complex interplay between attachment, caregiving, and sex....This book demonstrates exceptional knowledge of the subject area and provides one of the most complete and sophisticated reviews of theoretical and empirical literature on the subject. As such, this introduction will be of great interest to graduate students and beginning attachment researchers, as well as more experienced professionals, and provides an excellent conceptual foundation regarding this literature....This book is broad in its coverage and extremely well written and organized. It provides an excellent review of the literature and demonstrates the evolution of adult attachment theory through introducing new applications of attachment theory and groundbreaking research....This book should be of great interest to graduate students, established researchers, and clinicians. It will be well suited as a textbook in a graduate level class with a focus on intimate/romantic relationships."--The Family Psychologist
Child and Family Behavior Therapy

"A book that should appear in many venues. It belongs in university libraries and also in the personal libraries of those of us who think about and study attachment, love, and human social interaction. In addition, it is a useful teaching text at the college and graduate levels, in developmental and social psychology and in any courses focused on effective presentation of research. Its reasonable price makes it accessible. It is easy to read and understand, and the discussions of research are models to be followed. Cognitive behavior therapists will find attachment theory a rich source of background understanding and this book a model of how to apply theory to practice....Dynamics of Romantic Love is a superb volume and should be read widely."--Child and Family Behavior Therapy

"I learned a lot from this book....For those interested in learning about the social psychology of attachment and how it relates to love, sex, or relationships, this is an important book with clinical, personality, and social psychology implications."--PsycCRITIQUES
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593852702
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/30/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 466
  • Sales rank: 909,410
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mario Mikulincer, PhD, obtained his doctorate in psychology from Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel, in 1985, and has been Professor of Psychology there since 1992. He has published more than 220 articles and book chapters and one book, Human Learned Helplessness: A Coping Perspective (1994). Dr. Mikulincer's research interests include attachment styles in adulthood, terror management theory, personality processes in interpersonal relationships, evolutionary psychology, and trauma and posttraumatic processes. He currently serves on the editorial boards of several journals and as associate editor of Personal Relationships and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In 2004 he received the EMET Prize in Social Science, sponsored by the A. M. N. Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Art, and Culture in Israel, and awarded by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Gail S. Goodman, PhD, obtained her doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1977, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Denver and the Université René Descartes in Paris, France. She is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Public Policy Research at the University of California, Davis, and Professor of Forensic Psychology at the University of Oslo, Norway. Her research focuses on memory development, including attachment and memory, and forensic developmental psychology. Dr. Goodman has served as president of two divisions (Division 37, Child, Youth, and Family Services; and Division 41, Psychology and Law) and one section (Child Maltreatment, in Division 37) of the American Psychological Association. She has received many awards for her research, including two Distinguished Contributions awards in 2005 from the American Psychological Association.

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Table of Contents

I. Introduction
1. Attachment to Attachment Theory: A Personal Perspective on an Attachment Researcher, Gail S. Goodman
2. Attachment, Caregiving, and Sex within Romantic Relationships: A Behavioral Systems Perspective, Mario Mikulincer
II. Basic Attachment Processes in Couple Relationships
3. What Is Adult Attachment?, Cindy Hazan, Mary Campa, and Nurit Gur-Yaish
4. The Evolution of Attachment in Romantic Relationships, Claudia Chloe Brumbaugh and R. Chris Fraley
5. An Attachment Perspective on Abusive Dynamics in Intimate Relationships, Kim Bartholomew and Colleen J. Allison
6. Sex Differences in Jealousy: A Matter of Evolution or Attachment History?, Kenneth N. Levy, Kristen M. Kelly, and Ejay L. Jack
III. Interplay between the Caregiving and Attachment Systems
7. Responding to Need in Intimate Relationships: Normative Processes and Individual Differences, Nancy L. Collins, AnaMarie C. Guichard, Máire B. Ford, and Brooke C. Feeney
8. Attachment, Mental Representations of Others, and Gratitude and Forgiveness in Romantic Relationships, Mario Mikulincer, Phillip R. Shaver, and Keren Slav
9. Daily Perceptions of Conflict and Support in Romantic Relationships: The Ups and Downs of Anxiously Attached Individuals, Jeffry A. Simpson, Lorne Campbell, and Yanna J. Weisberg
IV. Attachment, Sex, and Love
10. Attachment Styles, Sex Motives, and Sexual Behavior: Evidence for Gender-Specific Expressions of Attachment Dynamics, M. Lynne Cooper, Mark Pioli, Ash Levitt, Amelia E. Talley, Lada Micheas, and Nancy L. Collins
11. How Do I Love Thee?: Implications of Attachment Theory for Understanding Same-Sex Love and Desire, Lisa M. Diamond
12. Attachment-Related Pathways to Sexual Coercion, Deborah Davis
13. How Do Sexuality and Attachment Interrelate?: Goals, Motives, and Strategies, Omri Gillath and Dory A. Schachner
V. Interfaces between Attachment Theory and Other Perspectives on Romantic Love
14. Romantic Relationships from the Perspectives of the Self-Expansion Model and Attachment Theory: Partially Overlapping Circles, Arthur Aron and Elaine N. Aron
15. Implications of Attachment Theory for Research on Intimacy, Harry T. Reis
16. Seasons of the Heart, Ellen Berscheid
17. Dynamics of Romantic Love: Comments, Questions, and Future Directions, Phillip R. Shaver
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