Dr Madoka Kumashiro

Madoka is a personality and social psychologist whose research interest is in personal growth and well-being.

Staff details

Dr Madoka Kumashiro






m.kumashiro (@gold.ac.uk)

Summary of research

I am a personality and social psychologist whose primary research interest is in the areas of personal growth and well-being. Specifically, how do close relationships (e.g., family, friends, romantic partners) and other types of close interpersonal interactions (e.g., with managers, co-workers, mentors, social media network) influence personal growth, allow people to become closer to their ideal self, and motivate individuals to achieve their most important goals? And how does personality affect the ability to create an optimal environment for experiencing such personal growth? Finally, how do these processes then affect well-being?


Available to supervise undergraduate, MSc and PhD students in any of the research areas listed on my 'research' tab or in related areas.

Grants and Awards

Two-Way SBE-RCUK/ESRC Lead Agency Agreement (ES/N013182/1): Relationship Strategies to Bolster Interpersonal Security Over Time (Co-PI with Dr. Ximena Arriaga, Purdue University, USA). August 2015-July 2018.  $335,120 from NSF and £33,223 from ESRC.


Publications and research outputs

Book Section

Arriaga, Ximena B. and Kumashiro, Madoka. 2021. Change in security from an Interdependence Theory perspective. In: Ross A. Thompson; Jeffry A. Simpson and Lisa J. Berlin, eds. Attachment: The Fundamental Questions. New York: The Guilford Press, pp. 176-184. ISBN 9781462546022

Hunt, Lucy L.; Kumashiro, Madoka and Arriaga, Ximena B.. 2020. An interdependence analysis of enhancing attachment security. In: Laura V. Machia; Christopher R. Agnew and Ximena B. Arriaga, eds. Interdependence, Interaction, and Close Relationships. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 95-119. ISBN 9781108480963

Kumashiro, Madoka and Arriaga, Ximena B.. 2020. Attachment security enhancement model: Bolstering attachment securing through close relationships. In: Brent A. Mattingly; Kevin P. McIntyre and Gary W. Lewandowski, Jr., eds. Interpersonal Relationships and the Self-Concept. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 69-88. ISBN 9783030437466


Vowels, Laura M; Carnelley, Katherine B; Kumashiro, Madoka and Rowe, Angela C. 2023. The impact of non-harmonious goals on partner support and taking on opportunities. Current Psychology, 42(27), pp. 23166-23183. ISSN 1046-1310

Vowels, Laura M.; Vowels, Matthew J.; Carnelley, Katherine B. and Kumashiro, Madoka. 2023. A machine learning approach to predicting perceived partner support from relational and individual variables. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 14(5), pp. 526-538. ISSN 1948-5506

Arriaga, Ximena B.; Eller, Jami; Kumashiro, Madoka; Rholes, W. Steven and Simpson, Jeffry A.. 2021. Self-Efficacy and Declines Over Time in Attachment Anxiety During the Transition to Parenthood. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 12(5), pp. 658-666. ISSN 1948-5506

Research Interests

My current research focuses on four areas:


1. Michelangelo Phenomenon: According to the sculptor Michelangelo, "ideal forms" slumber within blocks of marble; the sculptor's job is simply to chip away the excess stone in such a manner as to reveal the ideal form. Analogously, humans possess slumbering ideal forms – the ideal self to which each individual aspires. Comparable to blocks of stone, the ideal self often requires assistance in its efforts to emerge. This research examines the various ways in which close partners facilitate movement toward the ideal self, through examining various factors involving partner and target characteristics (e.g., various individual differences), goal characteristics (e.g., difficulty, importance, likelihood), and situational characteristics (e.g., conflicting interests).


Rusbult, C. E., Finkel, E. J., & Kumashiro, M. (2009). The Michelangelo Phenomenon. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 305-309.


2. Maintaining an equilibrium between personal and relational concerns: In close relationships, it is often difficult to simultaneously gratify important needs in two of the most powerful and central sources of human concerns: personal and relational. It is inevitable that individuals will sometimes confront the choice between engaging in behaviours that promote personal well-being (e.g., working long hours, spending time on hobby) versus relational well-being (e.g., spending time together, supporting other’s career aspirations). How individuals resolve such personal-relational conflicts may have important implications for both personal and relational well-being. The personal-relational equilibrium model predicts that individuals are motivated to regulate their behavior to maintain equilibrium between the personal and relational domains.


Kumashiro, M., Rusbult, C. E., & Finkel, E. J. (2008). Navigating personal and relational concerns: The quest for equilibrium. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 94-110.


3. Bolstering attachment security: Individuals form working models of the ‘self’ and ‘other’ based on early childhood attachment caregiving experiences. Attachment anxiety typically results from negative model of the self, whereas attachment avoidance typically results from negative model of other’s reliability and dependability, and individuals behave in a manner to elicit confirmation of their working models. The fill-in-the-void model suggests that attachment security may be bolstered over time when romantic partners are able to help anxious individuals feel more confident about themselves and avoidant individuals feel that the partner is trustworthy.


Arriaga, X. B., Kumashiro, M., Finkel, E. J., VanderDrift, L. E., & Luchies, L. B. (2014). Filling the void: Bolstering attachment security in committed relationships.  Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5, 398-406.


4. Application of above research in work, educational, health, or social media settings: Applying above research areas to interpersonal interactions in work settings (e.g., with managers and co-workers; examining work-life balance; well-being at work and home), educational or mentoring settings (e.g., how do mentors enhance or hinder motivation and self-regulation toward important goals and help individuals set the right kind of goals), health settings (e.g., effects of social support on motivation and well-being), and social media settings (e.g., how does social media affect personal growth and well-being).