Emotion regulation in emerging adult couples: Temperament, attachment, and HPA response to conflict

Heidemarie Laurent, Sally Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Difficulty managing the stress of conflict in close relationships can lead to mental and physical health problems, possibly through dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the neuroendocrine stress response system. Temperament, an individual characteristic, and attachment, a dyadic characteristic, have both been implicated in emotion regulation processes and physiological reactivity, yet there is no clear consensus on how the two work together to influence the stress response, especially after childhood. The present study investigated the ways in which temperament and attachment together predict HPA response in emerging adult couples. Analyses using multilevel modeling (HLM) found that partners' dyadic fit on attachment avoidance impacted females' cortisol response patterns, and attachment avoidance further moderated the effect of males' emotionality on both their own and their partners' cortisol. Results are discussed in terms of emotional coregulation processes in romantic attachment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-71
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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