Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Brent S. Mallinckrodt

Committee Members

Debora R. Baldwin, Gina Owens


This study investigated affect regulation as a mediator of the relationship between insecure attachment and (a) psychological symptoms of distress, and (b) cortisol levels, in a sample of first year undergraduate students. Participants (N = 125) attended group data collection sessions on campus where they completed both salivary collection and a paper and pencil survey. Survey measures included the Experiences in Close Relationship Scale to assess adult attachment, the Trait Meta-Mood Scale to assess emotional intelligence as a positive coping resource, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale to assess affect regulation problems, and the Outcome Questionnaire 30.2 to assess psychological symptoms of distress. The results indicated that emotion intelligence (Clarity and Repair) and affect regulation deficits (Strategies) mediated the relations between insecure attachment and psychological distress and level of cortisol.

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