Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

F. Richard Ferraro


Relationship social comparisons occur when an individual compares their relationship to another. These comparisons are unavoidable and the interpretation of them can influence how an individual feels about their relationship. Dispositional attachment style may influence how these comparisons are interpreted. Furthermore, research has shown individuals can be temporarily primed for specific attachment styles which results in cognitions and behaviors consistent with that attachment style. The current study examined the efficacy of priming attachment security on how an individual interprets relationship social comparison interpretations (RSCIs) and relationship satisfaction. A final sample of 505 individuals in a dating relationship were recruited from the United States. Though attachment priming had no effect on positive upward RSCIs, participants primed with secure attachment made RSCIs that were less negative and had more relationship satisfaction. In addition, participants with fearful-avoidant and preoccupied attachment who were primed for secure attachment had less negative RSCI compared to participants with the same attachment style who did not receive the secure prime. Collectively, these results may be important first steps that attachment priming may be effective at promoting relationship interpretations that are less negative and relationships that are more satisfying.