Does avoidance-attachment style attenuate the benefits of being listened to?

Dotan R. Castro, Avraham N. Kluger, Guy Itzchakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We tested both Rogers's hypothesis that listening enables speakers to experience psychological safety and our hypothesis that the benefit of listening for psychological safety is attenuated by avoidance-attachment style. We tested these hypotheses in six laboratory experiments, a field correlational study, and a scenario experiment. We meta-analyzed the results of the laboratory experiments and found that listening increased psychological safety on average but that the variance between the experiments was also significant. The between experiment variance in the effect of listening manipulation on psychological safety exposes a methodological challenge in choosing a research paradigm of good-versus-normal listening, as opposed to normal-versus-poor listening. More importantly, we found, as expected and across all designs, that the higher the avoidance-attachment style was, the lower the effect of listening on psychological safety. This finding has implications both for practice and for placing a theoretical boundary on Rogers's theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-775
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the Recanati Fund at the School of Business Administration and by the Israel Science Foundation (145/12) to the second author. The authors thank Dov Eden and the participants in Tammar Zilber's seminar for constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Carl Rogers
  • avoidance-attachment style
  • listening
  • psychological safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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