Standoffish Perhaps, but Successful as Well: Evidence That Avoidant Attachment Can Be Beneficial in Professional Tennis and Computer Science

Tsachi Ein-Dor, Abira Reizer, Phillip R. Shaver, Eyal Dotan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Attachment-related avoidance and anxiety have repeatedly been associated with poorer adjustment in various social, emotional, and behavioral domains. We examined 2 domains in which avoidant individuals might be better equipped than their less avoidant peers to succeed and be satisfied-professional singles tennis and computer science. These fields may reward self-reliance, independence, and the ability to work without proximal social support from loved ones. In Study 1, we followed 58 professional singles tennis players for 16 months and found that scores on attachment-related avoidance predicted a higher ranking, above and beyond the contributions of training and coping resources. In Study 2, we sampled 100 students and found that those who scored higher on avoidance were happier with their choice of computer science as a career than those who scored lower on avoidance. Results are discussed in relation to the possible adaptive functions of certain personality characteristics often viewed as undesirable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-768
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume80
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

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