Nancy L. Collins

Nancy L. Collins
University of California, Santa Barbara | UCSB · Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

PhD

About

71
Publications
83,231
Reads
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14,470
Citations
Introduction
My lab conducts research on close relationships and health psychology with an emphasis on adult attachment processes, social support and caregiving in couples, social cognition, and thriving. We use a variety of methods including experimental laboratory studies, observational studies, daily diary methods, virtual reality, and psychophysiological assessments (cortisol, progesterone, and cardiovascular reactivity).
Additional affiliations
August 1997 - present
University of California, Santa Barbara
Position
  • Professor (Full)
August 1993 - August 1998
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
October 1990 - June 1993
University of California, Los Angeles
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (71)
Article
Full-text available
In this study, the authors investigated self-esteem as a moderator of psychological and physiological responses to interpersonal rejection and tested an integrative model detailing the mechanisms by which self-esteem may influence cognitive, affective, and physiological responses. Seventy-eight participants experienced an ambiguous interpersonal re...
Article
When individuals are faced with novel or threatening situations, the presence of a trusted companion should reduce anxiety and promote feelings of security. Attachment theory assumes, however, that mere presence is not sufficient for establishing security; an attachment figure must also be attentive and emotionally responsive. To test this idea, pa...
Article
The specific pathways through which close relationships promote optimal well-being are not well understood. We describe a model (building on attachment theory's notion of safe haven and secure base support) that explains how close relationships promote thriving. This model defines thriving, identifies distinct contexts through which individuals may...
Article
Growing evidence suggests that interpersonal responsiveness-feeling understood, validated, and cared for by other people-plays a key role in shaping the quality of one's social interactions and relationships. But what enables people to be interpersonally responsive to others? In the current study, we argued that responsiveness requires not only acc...
Article
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A model of risk regulation is proposed to explain how people balance the goal of seeking closeness to a romantic partner against the opposing goal of minimizing the likelihood and pain of rejection. The central premise is that confidence in a partner's positive regard and caring allows people to risk seeking dependence and connectedness. The risk r...
Article
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This study examined the effects of a 4-week cognitive training program with neurofeedback (CT-NF) among 86 healthy adults (M = 66.34 years, range 54–84) randomized to either a treatment (app-based ABC games) or control (Tetris) group. Participants completed seven cognitive assessments, pre- and post-intervention, and measured their cortical brain a...
Article
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This study examines whether using virtual reality (VR) with older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild to moderate dementia with a family member who lives at a distance can improve the quality of life of the older adult and the family member. Twenty-one older adults in a senior living community and a family member (who participated i...
Article
Sleep has strong influences on affective and social experiences. However, less is known about the reciprocal effects of sleep, affect, and social experiences at a daily level, and little work has considered racial/ethnic minorities at high risk for social disconnection and discrimination. A 7-day daily experience study assessed the bidirectional re...
Article
Perceived responsiveness plays a key role in social support interactions. Past research shows that people are more likely to seek support when they perceive that close others will be responsive to their needs, and that social support is most effective when it is perceived as responsive. However, theoretical models and measures of perceived responsi...
Article
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Background and Objectives This study tests the feasibility of using virtual reality (VR) with older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild-to-moderate dementia with a family member who lives at a distance. Research Design and Methods 21 residents in a senior living community and a family member (who participated in the VR with the old...
Article
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In Western culture, romantic love is commonly a basis for marriage. Although it is associated with relationship satisfaction, stability, and individual well-being, many couples experience declines in romantic love. In newlyweds, specifically, changes in love predict marital outcomes. However, the biological mechanisms underlying the critical transi...
Article
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Most health research focuses on the independent associations of positive or negative aspects of close relationships with health outcomes. A small but growing literature has begun to examine interactive effects of positive and negative aspects. These interactive effects frequently predict health independently or above‐and‐beyond main effects of eith...
Article
In this article, we discuss theory and research on social support and caregiving processes in adult close relationships. We first outline key theoretical principles of attachment theory and of a theoretical perspective on thriving through relationships that builds on attachment theory. We then review empirical research that has tested key theoretic...
Article
Close relationships play a vital role in human health, but much remains to be learned about specific mechanisms of action and potential avenues for intervention. This article provides an evaluation of research on close relationships processes relevant to health, drawing on themes from major relationship science theories to present a broad conceptua...
Article
Researchers recently demonstrated that cortisol increases in response to mating-relevant social interactions. An important next step is investigating factors that explain individual differences in cortisol reactivity within these contexts. The current study examined demographic, situational, and individual difference predictors of cortisol reactivi...
Article
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Finkel, Rusbult, Kumashiro, and Hannon (2002, Study 1) demonstrated a causal link between subjective commitment to a relationship and how people responded to hypothetical betrayals of that relationship. Participants primed to think about their commitment to their partner (high commitment) reacted to the betrayals with reduced exit and neglect respo...
Article
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This study examined the association between language style matching (LSM), subjective perceptions of interaction quality (perceived responsiveness and affect), and partner behavior in two communication contexts: conflict and social support. Romantic couples (N = 91) engaged in a video-recorded discussion of either a relationship stressor or one par...
Article
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This study investigated a key claim of risk regulation theory, namely, that psychological internalizing of a relationship threat will serve as a mediator of the link between self-models (self-esteem and attachment anxiety) and relationship responses (moving closer to a partner vs. distancing from a partner). Participants (N = 101) received feedback...
Article
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Close and caring relationships are undeniably linked to health and well-being at all stages in the life span. Yet the specific pathways through which close relationships promote optimal well-being are not well understood. In this article, we present a model of thriving through relationships to provide a theoretical foundation for identifying the sp...
Article
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This study examined the role of compassionate love (CL) in shaping cognitive, emotional, physiological, and behavioral responses to partner distress (N 1⁄4 56 couples). One member of each couple (the support provider) observed his/her partner perform an easy or difficult stress task (designed to vary signals of partner distress). Support providers...
Article
This paper is embargoed until 29 August.
Article
Full-text available
Close and caring relationships are undeniably linked to health and well-being at all stages in the life span. Yet the specific pathways through which close relationships promote optimal well-being are not well understood. In this article, we present a model of thriving through relationships to provide a theoretical foundation for identifying the sp...
Article
Full-text available
Background Theory and research suggest that sensory processing sensitivity (SPS), found in roughly 20% of humans and over 100 other species, is a trait associated with greater sensitivity and responsiveness to the environment and to social stimuli. Self-report studies have shown that high-SPS individuals are strongly affected by others' moods, but...
Data
Table S1. Regions of interest (ROIs) used to examine regional brain activations for an fMRI study of sensory processing sensitivity.
Article
Full-text available
This investigation examined the importance of underlying motivations in predicting secure base support behavior, as well as the extent to which support motivations are predicted by individual differences in attachment orientation. Participants were 189 married couples who participated in two laboratory sessions. During a questionnaire session, coup...
Chapter
Social support is vital to health and emotional well-being, but people differ in their willingness and ability to engage in effective social support processes in close relationships. This chapter uses attachment theory as a framework for understanding social support dynamics in intimate relationships. The chapter begins with a review of three behav...
Article
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A daily diary methodology was used to investigate the effects of rejection on daily health and well-being as well as the moderating role of self-esteem. Participants completed an online diary for two weeks, reporting on rejection, mental well-being/resources, risky health behaviors, and health-related outcomes. Overall, daily rejection was associat...
Article
The risk regulation model proposes that people with low self-esteem, but not those with high self-esteem, react to relationship-based self-threats by defensively distancing from their partner. In the present study, we hypothesized that a self-affirmation manipulation, by restoring self-worth and integrity for people with low self-esteem, would atte...
Chapter
This chapter describes an attachment-based model of social support in couples, which emphasizes the interpersonal and transactional nature of support processes and focuses on the roles of both the care giver and the support seeker. The authors describe their ongoing programs of research on normative differences in care giving and seeking, as well a...
Article
Reports an error in "Self-esteem moderates neuroendocrine and psychological responses to interpersonal rejection" by Máire B. Ford and Nancy L. Collins (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2010[Mar], Vol 98[3], 405-419). This article contained a misspelling in the last name of the first author in the below reference. The complete correct...
Article
The caregiving behavioral system has been identified as a vital component of adult attachment bonds, but until recently it has received relatively little attention in the adult attachment literature. In this article, we review recent theoretical and empirical developments on caregiving dynamics in adult intimate relationships, focusing on normative...
Article
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Human beings are hardwired to nurture, protect, and promote the welfare of others, as argued in several other chapters in this volume. This propensity to care for others is most visible in our closest relationships, in which individuals routinely sacrifice their own needs—even their own health—to respond to the needs of their spouses, children, and...
Chapter
cognitive representations;social experiences;social world;behavioral response;working models
Article
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This study explored the association between one partner's attachment style and the other partner's relationship experiences (N = 305 couples). It was hypothesized that individuals would be more satisfied in their relationship when their partners were more secure (lower in attachment avoidance and anxiety), and that this association would be mediate...
Article
Several decades of research on the psychology of minority status has yielded highly discrepant findings. Substantial research suggests that perceptions of discrimination are linked to inferior self-regard and poor mental health, whereas other studies indicate that perceptions of discrimination are protective of global self-esteem. We tested a theor...
Article
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Two studies examined the link between working models of attachment and social construal processes in romantic relationships. In Study 1, individuals high in attachment-related anxiety responded to hypothetical partner transgressions by endorsing relationship-threatening attributions, experiencing emotional distress, and endorsing behavioral intenti...
Article
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A growing body of research indicates that maternal stress in general, and anxiety in particular, during pregnancy are significant risk factors for adverse birth outcomes. Researchers know very little empirically about the specific psychological and social factors that contribute to perceptions of stress and anxiety for women during pregnancy. To ad...
Article
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Two studies examined the association between attachment style and perceptions of social support. Study 1 (N = 95 couples) used an experimental paradigm to manipulate social support in the context of a stressful task. Insecure participants (anxious and avoidant) who received low-support messages appraised these messages more negatively, rated a prio...
Article
In this chapter, the authors review the major propositions outlined by John Bowlby and others on the early development and nature of working models. Next, they specify the components of working models and discuss how these components are useful for mapping out differences in adult attachment styles. The authors then discuss how working models are l...
Article
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This study identified and examined the correlates of specific motivations for caregiving in romantic couples (N = 194 couples). At Time 1, couple members completed measures assessing motivations for caregiving, the quality of caregiving that occurs in the relationship, and personal and relationship characteristics that might influence caregiving mo...
Article
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The current study examined the predictors of stability and change in adult attachment styles in a community sample (N = 442) of women who underwent an abortion. Across a two-year time period, 46% of our participants changed their attachment style, suggesting that these styles may be relatively flexible. Among those women who changed their attachmen...
Article
Using a prospective research design, this study explored whether attachment style during adolescence forecasts the nature and quality of romantic relationships in early adulthood and investigated two general pathways for explaining these effects. Black and White community residents were first interviewed in adolescence at which time they completed...
Article
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Romantic couples (N = 194) participated in an investigation of caregiving processes in adulthood. In Phase 1, couple members completed questionnaires designed to identify attachment style differences in caregiving behavior and to explore the underlying (personal and relationship) mechanisms that lead people with different attachment styles to be ef...
Article
Romantic couples (N = 194) participated in an investigation of caregiving processes in adulthood. In Phase 1, couple members completed questionnaires designed to identify attachment style differences in caregiving behavior and to explore the underlying (personal and relationship) mechanisms that lead people with different attachment styles to be ef...
Article
Full-text available
This study used an attachment theoretical framework to investigate support-seeking and caregiving processes in intimate relationships. Dating couples (N = 93) were videotaped while one member of the couple (support seeker) disclosed a personal problem to his or her partner (caregiver). Results indicated that when support seekers rated their problem...
Article
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Purpose: To examine whether ethnic differences in low birth weight babies of low-income women may be explained in part by group differences in prenatal health behaviors and psychosocial factors. Methods: A prospective, survey of 1,071 low-income, primiparous African-American and Mexican-origin women was conducted in Los Angeles County, Californi...
Article
Attachment style differences in psychological symptomatology, self-concept, and risky or problem behaviors were examined in a community sample (N = 1,989) of Black and White adolescents, 13 to 19 years old. Overall, secure adolescents were the best-adjusted group, though not necessarily the least likely to engage in risky behaviors. Anxious adolesc...
Article
The relations between adult attachment styles, perceived social support and the use of various coping strategies was examined in a sample of young adults (N = 81). Participants completed measures of adult attachment style, perceived social support from friends and family, and a modified version of the Ways of Coping scale. In addition, participants...
Article
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This study examined the association between acculturation of Mexican-origin women and factors in low birthweight and preterm delivery. Interviews were conducted with 911 Mexican-origin respondents in Los Angeles prenatal care clinics. Infant outcome data were retrieved from delivery records. Mexican-American women had generally more undesirable pre...
Article
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Two studies examined attachment style differences in social perception. In Study 1, participants wrote open-ended explanations for hypothetical relationship events and described how they would feel and behave in response to each event. Compared with secure participants, preoccupied participants explained events in more negative ways; they also repo...
Article
examines the working-models component of attachment theory in some detail, considering what it meant to J. Bowlby and has meant to subsequent attachment theorists, how it is similar to and different from other conceptions of social–cognitive structures (e.g., schemas and scripts), and how it might be productively researched / begin with a brief ove...
Article
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The effects of stress, social support, and labor and delivery experiences on postpartum depressed mood were examined in an ethnically diverse sample of low-income women (N = 108). Women were interviewed on multiple occasions throughout pregnancy and then once approximately 2 months postpartum. Information on labor and delivery outcomes was abstract...
Article
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Self-disclosure plays a central role in the development and maintenance of relationships. One way that researchers have explored these processes is by studying the links between self-disclosure and liking. Using meta-analytic procedures, the present work sought to clarify and review this literature by evaluating the evidence for 3 distinct disclosu...
Article
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This prospective study examined the effects of prenatal social support on maternal and infant health and well-being in a sample of low-income pregnant women (N = 129). Three aspects of support (amount received, quality of support received, and network resources) and four outcomes (birth weight, Apgar scores, labor progress, and postpartum depressio...
Article
[provide an] analysis of working models with regard to adult attachment / [consider] the structure and content of these models, including how they may differ for adults with different attachment styles / use [developmental literature] as a point of departure for suggesting how models of self and others are likely to be characterized in adulthood /...
Article
This prospective study examined the effects of prenatal social support on maternal and infant health and well-being in a sample of low-income pregnant women (N = 129). Three aspects of support (amount received, quality of support received, and network resources) and four outcomes (birth weight, Apgar scores, labor progress, and postpartum depressio...
Chapter
How do people construct accounts of what happens in their relationships? Although researchers have studied a variety of attribution and accounting phenomena, such as their roles in relationship formation (e.g., Fletcher, Fincham, Cramer, & Heron, 1987), marital discord (for a review see Bradbury & Fincham, 1990), and relationship termination (e.g.,...
Article
Confirmatory factor analysis of multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) data has proven to be a useful tool for assessing convergent and discriminant validity. However, researchers have not made full use of the results of MTMM analyses in examining the relationship between MTMM factors and variables outside the MTMM. Often, researchers simply average the var...
Article
Three studies were conducted to examine the correlates of adult attachment. In Study 1, an 18-item scale to measure adult attachment style dimensions was developed based on Hazan and Shaver's (1987) categorical measure. Factor analyses revealed three dimensions underlying this measure: the extent to which an individual is comfortable with closeness...
Article
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We argue that sexual behavior, governed in part by a behavioral system distinct from the attachment system described originally by Bowlby (1969/1982), provides an important set of strategies that people use to regulate emotional experiences and interpersonal relationships; that individuals with different attachment styles adopt different intra- and...
Article
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Attachment theory describes caregiving as a basic component of human nature and essential for personal and relationship well-being. Caregiving plays a central role in the nature and function of attachment relationships, and, according to the theory, it interacts in important ways with two other basic components of human nature- attachment and explo...

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