Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Brett Jakubiak


attachment, intimacy, multilevel models, relationships


Close relationships are associated with myriad benefits for human functioning. Intimate behaviors (e.g., physical affection, self-disclosure) are critical for establishing closeness, and people who enact intimate behaviors more frequently also tend to experience greater positive affect and subjective well-being. People vary in how much they desire and enact intimate behaviors in their relationships, and persons who are relatively high in attachment avoidance—reluctance to rely on close others for support and comfort—tend to report less desire for and less frequent enactment of intimate behaviors than do persons who are relatively lower in attachment avoidance. If highly avoidant persons’ negative attitudes toward intimate behaviors are an impediment to their enactment of, and eventual benefitting from, intimate behaviors in their close relationships, it is important to examine when their attitudes will be more favorable than usual. I tested the hypothesis that greater attachment avoidance would be associated with less favorable attitudes toward intimate behaviors generally (H1). I also hypothesized that, among highly avoidant persons in particular, attitudes toward intimate behaviors would be relatively more favorable in relaxing contexts than they are in stressful contexts (H2). I observed consistent support for Hypothesis 1 in a study of single people (Study 1) and a study of people in romantic relationships (Study 2). Although I did not observe direct support for Hypothesis 2, I observed that people generally report more favorable attitudes toward intimate behaviors in relaxing contexts compared to stressful contexts and that attitudes toward intimate behaviors vary depending on both attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety. I also observed that attachment-related variations in attitudes toward intimate vary according to the type of intimate behaviors being evaluated.


Open Access