Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


Attachment, Bullying, and Romantic Relationships in College Students

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Marie Tisak (Committee Co-Chair)

Second Advisor

John Tisak (Committee Co-Chair)

Third Advisor

Carolyn Tompsett (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Michael Buerger (Committee Member)


Some studies have examined the relationships between early attachment and bullying, bullying and romantic relationships, and attachment and romantic relationships. However, there is a dearth of empirical evidence regarding how later adverse experiences during adolescence, such as in-person bullying and cyberbullying, combines with early attachment to predict later romantic attachment and romantic relationships. In other words, my dissertation examines how early attachment style during childhood and online and offline bullying experience during adolescence may together affect someone’s later attachment styles and romantic relationships. There are some interesting findings. For instance, the more securely attached someone is to his or her mother in early childhood, and the less they were involved in bullying as an adolescent (regardless of online or offline), the more likely it is for them to be securely attached to their romantic partners later as a young adult. They also trust their romantic partners more and are more satisfied with their relationships. Childhood attachment and adolescent bullying involvement uniquely contributes to later romantic attachment as well as romantic relationship satisfaction. There are also some interaction effects on gender. Detailed differences between inperson bullying and cyberbullying as well as the interactions between predictors were examined.