Understanding and altering hurt feelings: An attachment-theoretical perspective on the generation and regulation of emotions

Phillip R. Shaver, Mario Mikulincer, Shiri Lavy, Jude Cassidy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


It is exciting to see how far research on hurt feelings has progressed since 1987 as both affective science and relationship science have blossomed. Our own professional involvement with the study of hurt feelings began accidentally, in the late 1980s, when Shaver, Schwartz, Kirson, and O'Connor (1987) probed the semantic structure of the English emotion lexicon, finding five major clusters of emotion terms in Americans' everyday vocabularies – clusters labeled love, joy, anger, sadness, and fear. Because of the prominence in the late 1980s of Ekman and Izard's discrete emotions theories (e.g., Ekman, 1992; Izard, 1977), Shaver et al. (1987) viewed particular members of each of the five emotion clusters as either prototypical of that cluster or as “blends” of two or more basic emotions. One such blend, according to the authors, was hurt, The emotion hurt, for example, although it appears within the sadness [category], seems to be a blend of sadness and anger.…A person feels hurt, according to subjects' accounts, when he or she has been wronged in a way that warrants anger (i.e., in a way that is unfair [or] inappropriate given agreed-upon roles or rules) but believes that the offender does not care enough to rectify matters, even if a reasonable objection were to be raised (cf. de Rivera, 1977). Not surprisingly, hurt is…mentioned more frequently by people who perceive themselves to be the weaker…party in a relationship. (p.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFeeling Hurt in Close Relationships
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780511770548
ISBN (Print)9780521866903
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2009.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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