Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences




Although research has historically focused on the positive aspects of social ties, relationships inevitably involve a combination of positive as well as negative interactions. For the present study, we conducted a series of hierarchical linear regressions using longitudinal data from 108 first-year college students to test whether attachment anxiety and avoidance acted as moderators of the association between positive and negative social exchanges (assessed with the PANSE; Newsom et al., 2005) and changes in life satisfaction across the first year of college. We found that for individuals high on attachment avoidance or attachment anxiety, negative social exchanges were associated with increases in life satisfaction. In addition, whereas positive exchanges were associated with increases in life satisfaction among participants low on attachment avoidance, they were associated with decreases in life satisfaction among participants high on avoidance. Follow-up analyses using the subscales of the PANSE revealed the specific types of positive and negative exchanges driving these associations. Our findings highlight the relevance of attachment for understanding the role of social exchanges during the college transition.

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