Romantic partner presence and physiological responses in daily life: Attachment style as a moderator.
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The present study investigated whether the presence of a romantic partner in daily life is associated with attenuated sympathetic nervous system responses. Additionally, romantic attachment style was tested as a moderator. For one day, 106 heterosexual young adult dating couples wore ambulatory sensors that monitored electrodermal activity (EDA) - an index of sympathetic arousal. Couples reported whether they were together or apart for every hour of the data collection day. Men and women exhibited lower EDA during hours in which their partner was present compared to hours in which they were absent. Additionally, romantic attachment style moderated this association; those who had low anxious attachment showed a stronger attenuating effect of partner presence compared to those with higher anxious attachment. Similarly, those who had low avoidant attachment showed heightened effects of partner presence compared to those with higher avoidant attachment. Romantic partner presence may facilitate everyday health-promoting physiological processes.