Research project

Carnelley ESRC Applying Relationship Science in Contemporary Interventions


Lead researcher

Dr Kathy Carnelley

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • My research area is personal relationships. I investigate the ways in which attachment experiences with parents and romantic partners influence how people view the self, others and relationships. My research focuses on how models of self and others influence people's thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in romantic relationships, for example relationship functioning and caregiving. I am co-founder of the UK Attachment Network.
  • One stream of my research focuses on moving people toward felt security. Attachment security is associated with better relationship quality and well-being. I examine the extent to which temporarily activated attachment security (via priming) can lead to these positive outcomes in a series of studies.  With my colleagues and students, for example, I have investigated the effects of priming attachment security on self-views and relationship-views, feelings of vitality and energy, pain sensitivity, mental health, and therapy attitudes. In addition, I have tested ways to increase the impact of a security prime via repeated priming in the lab, online, or via text messaging.
  • Other streams of research focus on attachment networks (e.g., who serves as attachment figures, how they change over time). Recently I’ve investigated the role of partners in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, examining personal and relational wellbeing and goals. I’m also interested in close relationships and technology use (e.g., technoference).
Connect with Kathy

Research outputs