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Theoretical Boundary Conditions of Partner Buffering in Romantic Relationships

Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6880; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186880
Received: 27 August 2020 / Revised: 16 September 2020 / Accepted: 18 September 2020 / Published: 21 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fostering Attachment Security)
Attachment insecurity is consequential for both personal and relationship wellbeing. Some research has documented that partner buffering can downregulate insecure individuals’ immediate feelings of distress, allowing them to feel more secure at least temporarily. The benefits of partner buffering, however, may be limited by several contextual factors. In this article, we identify boundary conditions that may curb or amplify the benefits of partner buffering for both targets (those who receive buffering) and agents (those who enact buffering). We suggest that motivation, ability, and timing may all affect partner buffering outcomes for targets and agents. If partner buffering is delivered in an adaptive way that does not reinforce the target’s insecure tendencies, it may help insecure targets learn that they can trust and depend on their partners (agents), which may facilitate greater security in targets. We recommend that future research consider these contextual factors and examine partner buffering as an inherently dyadic relationship process capable of enhancing attachment security. View Full-Text
Keywords: attachment security; partner buffering; romantic relationships; context attachment security; partner buffering; romantic relationships; context
MDPI and ACS Style

Eller, J.; Simpson, J.A. Theoretical Boundary Conditions of Partner Buffering in Romantic Relationships. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6880.

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