Autonomy-proximity imbalance: An attachment theory perspective on intrusiveness in romantic relationships

Shiri Lavy, Mario Mikulincer, Phillip R. Shaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined associations between two kinds of attachment insecurity (anxiety and avoidance) and intrusiveness in couple relationships. One hundred fifty-six adults completed measures of attachment insecurities and variables related to intrusiveness (engaging in intrusive behavior, perceiving a partner as intrusive, subjective experiences of being intrusive, and reacting to intrusive behavior). Attachment anxiety was associated with more intrusive behavior, more ambivalent reactions to partner intrusiveness, and greater emotionality when being intrusive. Avoidance was associated with perceiving a partner as intrusive, reacting critically and establishing distance in response to partner intrusiveness, and feeling concerned and caring when being intrusive. Results and their implications are discussed from an attachment theory perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-556
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Attachment
  • Avoidance
  • Couple relationships
  • Intrusiveness
  • Transgressions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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