Bartz, J. & Lydon, J. (2006). Navigating the interdependence dilemma: Attachment goals and the use of communal norms with potential close others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 77-96.
Four studies investigated attachment in the context of new relationship development. Anxiously attached individuals overwhelmingly used communal norms and avoided using exchange norms when interacting with a potential close other; however, when a potential close other used communal norms, anxious individuals experienced increased interpersonal anxiety. Anxious individuals also used discrete communal behaviors to diagnose relationship potential. By contrast, secure individuals were more comfortable in potential communal situations. Moreover, implicit thoughts about closeness were associated with improved performance on a mental concentration task for secure individuals, whereas implicit closeness thoughts were associated with poorer performance for anxious individuals. Finally, avoidant individuals disliked the potential close other when the other used communal norms and downplayed relational motives for the other’s communal behavior.