Psychology Dissertation Sample

Psychology Dissertation Sample


Imagine Interaction due to Loneliness, Attachment Insecurity and Felt Psychological Needs Dissatisfaction in Peer Relations of Late Adolescents and Young Adults


This is one of our writer’s dissertation.

Word Count / Required:

10,000 words. Shown here is the first 800 words.

Writer’s Comment:

I do clinical psychology for my Masters and this is a dissertation done personally for the course.

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1. Introduction

Why do we engage in relationships? There are many benefits that we can derive from being in a relationship. Not only that they can address our need for intimacy but they can also help us nurture our confidence and further assist us in developing our full potentials. According to Relationships Motivation Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2014), it is inherently satisfying to form social connections. However, social connections that are unable to provide the needs for relatedness, competency, and autonomy could only lead to problems in well-being. Loneliness is a form of social distress that signals a lack of fulfilling relationships. Researchers now recognized that loneliness is not only due to social isolation but also due to subjective appraisal of the quality of relationships (Russell et al., 2012).

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The prevalence of loneliness is higher in late adolescents to young adults (Rokach, 2012). It has been established that during these developmental stages, the focus is on their peer groups and yet, these individuals are still at risk of perceived social isolation (Laursen & Hartl, 2013). The goal of this paper is to examine loneliness in the context of late adolescents’ and young adults’ peer relations. It is hypothesize in this study that the loneliness they feel is partly due to their unsatisfying relationship. Since relationship is dyadic in nature, it is assumed that what makes their relationship unsatisfactory could also be attributed to their attachment style. Currently, there have been consistent findings about the problematic reception and expression of feelings and thoughts among individuals with attachment insecurity (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2014). There has been a robust connection among loneliness, attachment insecurity, and unfulfilled psychological needs within relationships. However, only few studies delve about how individuals with attachment insecurity process this form of distress. Thus, the current study aims to test if individuals with attachment insecurity’s way of coping with loneliness can be a predictive of Imagine interaction.

1.1. Loneliness and Imagine Interaction

Social relationships can provide a sense of connectedness. However, it is possible that some people who are widely networked can still remain disconnected from others. This subjective perception of being isolated and alone in one’s experience, regardless of the available relationships, can lead to a feeling of distress called loneliness.

Loneliness is said to occur when social needs remain unmet due to the discrepancies between one’s expected and actual social interactions within close relationships (Peplau & Perlman, 1982; Russell et al., 2012). These discrepancies can be attributed to certain cognitive processes involved in lonely individuals. It has been found that lonely individuals’ attention is more attuned to their internal experiences and more likely to process self-relevant information (Frankel & Prentice-Dunn, 1990; Vanhalst et al., 2012). This preoccupation to own needs may hamper the objective appraisal of the quality of their social relationships. Furthermore, factors such as lack of social skills and competencies (Bernardon, et al., 2011; DiTommaso, et al., 2003) and even social anxiety (Lim et al., 2016) were found to be significant predictors of feeling lonely. Thus, it is likely that the lack of effective social skills to mitigate the faulty interpretation of interpersonal relationships might enhance the feeling of loneliness.

In times when social encounters are difficult to achieve in reality, engaging in an Imagine interaction (II) becomes rewarding. II is a form of daydreaming with verbal scripts and visual imagery pertaining to a past or future social interaction with a significant other (Honeycutt & Hatcher, 2016). II may be consciously or unconsciously done to serve a specific purpose (see Honeycutt, et al., 2015). As a way to compensate with their ideal social interactions, lonely individuals frequently enter in an Imagine interaction (II; Honeycutt & Ford, 2001). That is, they repetitively think of their significant relationship to keep it subjectively alive (relationship maintenance), rehearse their way of dealing with them (rehearsal), find solution to their interpersonal problems (conflict-linkage), compensate for their inability to currently meet and communicate with them (compensation), release their emotions (catharsis), and understand themselves further (self-understanding). In some experimental studies, assigning the participants to daydream about their significant others diminishes their induced loneliness (Poerio, et al., 2015). However, this replenishing effect of II is only applicable for their significant others whom they really have a close relationship with. Conversely, an II with others who cannot be counted as a close relationship can lead to a higher loneliness and less perceived social support (Mar et al., 2012). With these, this study is set out to establish that a part of loneliness that can lead to II with significant others has something to do with frustrated psychological needs within those relationship.

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