Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 78–92 | Cite as

Emotional reactions and regulatory responses to negative and positive events: Associations with attachment and gender

  • Amy L. GentzlerEmail author
  • Kathryn A. Kerns
  • Emily Keener
Original Paper


In two studies, we examined inter-individual variability in responses to both negative and positive events. In the first study, participants (119 college students) reported on negative and positive events from their own lives. The second was an experiment in which participants (133 college students) were given either negative or positive feedback about their personality. With negative events, more insecure individuals, especially anxiously attached, evidenced more intense negative emotional reactions and greater processing of (i.e., ruminating on) negative experiences. With positive events, securely attached individuals and less anxiously attached engaged in greater processing of positive experiences (maximized), whereas more insecure individuals tended to minimize positive experiences. Gender differences for emotion regulation were moderated by either attachment or event type. Findings for negative events generally coincide with prior research, and those for positive events provide new evidence that attachment style could affect how people react to positive events and emotions.


Attachment Gender Emotion regulation Coping Positive emotions 



The authors would like to thank Tiffany Barnes, Tammy Gray, and Gadi Wininger for their invaluable assistance with these studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy L. Gentzler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kathryn A. Kerns
    • 2
  • Emily Keener
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Kent State UniversityKentUSA
  3. 3.West Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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