Stockholms universitet

Joel Gruneau BrulinAdjungerad lärare

Om mig

Inom mitt doktorandprojekt undersökte jag hur människor söker trygghet genom sin relation till Gud, samt genom välfärdssystemet. För att förstå detta använder vi bland annat anknytningsteori samt tillitsforskning.

Vid sidan om min forskning arbetar jag även som psykolog, där jag arbetar med emtionsfokuserad psykodynamisk korttidsterapi vid ISTDP-mottagningen i Stockholm.


Är kursansvarig för introduktionskursen på psykologprogrammet, samt för kursen  "Människan utveckling - ett anknytningsteoretiskt och relationellt perspektiv".


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Security in the welfare state

    2021. Joel Gruneau Brulin.

    Avhandling (Dok)

    Because of the industrial revolution some 200 years ago, a growing part of the western world’s population started moving to cities and away from traditional sources of security, like families or local communities. Consequently, social security, such as aid for the sick and elderly, came to be organized through the public domain, giving rise to the welfare states. Today, in countries with more expansive welfare states people less readily turn to another source of security: religion. Thus, welfare states and religion may function as alternative, even competing, sources of security. The aim of the present thesis is to scrutinize whether people use the welfare state as a source of psychological security (the perceived freedom from worry or care) in a similar way as religious people may use their relationship with God. This is done through the framework of attachment theory and how believers’ relationship with God has been understood as an attachment relationship. Another aim is to explore whether people’s attachment-related mental models are linked to trust in welfare state institutions. The thesis includes two empirical studies, using experimental (Study 1) or correlational (Study 3) designs, and performed in two different contexts: Sweden (comprising an expansive welfare state but lower degrees of religiosity) and the US (comprising a smaller welfare state but higher degrees of religiosity). The thesis also includes a conceptual discussion of attachment relationships and figures (Study 2).

    Study 1 tests whether people’s attention is directed towards the welfare state or God after exposure to threat primes, and if people report a greater willingness to take exploratory risks after being reminded of the welfare state or God. In neither Sweden nor the US did the welfare state function as a source of security in the hypothesized ways. Neither did God, in contrast to previous studies using the same methodology. These failed replications are possibly due to contextual differences between previous studies (conducted in Israel) and the present ones, such as differences in sensitivity to threats. In Study 2, the conceptual boundaries of the constituents of attachment relationships in relation to non-human objects are discussed. Based on Wittgenstein’s notion of “fuzzy boundaries” for categories, the importance of displaying resemblance with human attachments and of enabling the formation of a personal relationship is emphasized. God is argued to display these characteristics, but not the welfare state. Study 3 tests whether attachment orientations (in terms of avoidance and anxiety) are related to trust in welfare state institutions. In both Sweden and the US, attachment-related avoidance was related to lower trust in welfare state institutions, and this link was statistically mediated by low trust in other people. Avoidance may hence predispose for reluctance to seek comfort/support from other people as well as from societal institutions such as the welfare state.

    In conclusion, although the security that the welfare state provides makes people less prone to turn to religion for security, people do not appear to use the welfare state as a source of psychological security in the same way as religious people may use their relationship with God. Also, people’s attachment (in-)security, more specifically avoidance, may influence not only behavior and attitudes in close relationships but also in relation to societal institutions.

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  • Structure of Dark Triad Dirty Dozen Across Eight World Regions

    2021. Radoslaw Rogoza (et al.). Assessment (Odessa, Fla.) 28 (4), 1125-1135


    The Dark Triad (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism) has garnered intense attention over the past 15 years. We examined the structure of these traits' measure-the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen (DTDD)-in a sample of 11,488 participants from three W.E.I.R.D. (i.e., North America, Oceania, Western Europe) and five non-W.E.I.R.D. (i.e., Asia, Middle East, non-Western Europe, South America, sub-Saharan Africa) world regions. The results confirmed the measurement invariance of the DTDD across participants' sex in all world regions, with men scoring higher than women on all traits (except for psychopathy in Asia, where the difference was not significant). We found evidence for metric (and partial scalar) measurement invariance within and between W.E.I.R.D. and non-W.E.I.R.D. world regions. The results generally support the structure of the DTDD.

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  • Country-level correlates of the Dark Triad traits in 49 countries

    2020. Peter K. Jonason (et al.). Journal of personality 88 (6), 1252-1267


    Objectives: The Dark Triad traits (i.e., narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism) capture individual differences in aversive personality to complement work on other taxonomies, such as the Big Five traits. However, the literature on the Dark Triad traits relies mostly on samples from English-speaking (i.e., Westernized) countries. We broadened the scope of this literature by sampling from a wider array of countries.

    Method: We drew on data from 49 countries (N = 11,723; 65.8% female;Age(Mean) = 21.53) to examine how an extensive net of country-level variables in economic status (e.g., Human Development Index), social relations (e.g., gender equality), political orientations (e.g., democracy), and cultural values (e.g., embeddedness) relate to country-level rates of the Dark Triad traits, as well as variance in the magnitude of sex differences in them.

    Results: Narcissism was especially sensitive to country-level variables. Countries with more embedded and hierarchical cultural systems weremorenarcissistic. Also, sex differences in narcissism werelargerinmoredeveloped societies: Women were less likely to be narcissistic in developed (vs. less developed) countries.

    Conclusions: We discuss the results based on evolutionary and social role models of personality and sex differences. That higher country-level narcissism was more common in less developed countries, whereas sex differences in narcissism were larger in more developed countries, is more consistent with evolutionary than social role models.

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  • Should I Stay or Should I Go? Relationship satisfaction and the influence of attachment

    2019. Anna Blomkvist (et al.).


    Romantic relationships have been argued to function as attachment relationships, and the level of satisfaction with the relationship have been associated with one’s attachment style. Both attachment avoidance and anxiety have shown to be reliable predictors of relationship dissatisfaction. In this study, which were part of a screening process for couples’ therapy, 660 participants (330 both heterosexual and homosexual couples) completed a questionnaire regarding their attachment style (Experience of Close Relationships) and relationship satisfaction (Dyadic Adjustment Scale). Through structural equation modelling we found that relationship satisfaction was linked to both attachment avoidance (? = -.26) and anxiety (? = -.15) of one own, but only to partner avoidance (? = -.12). These findings are to some extent contradictory to previous research regarding the effect of partner attachment, by showing that specifically avoidance but not anxiety is linked to dissatisfaction.

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  • God and Place as Attachment ‘Figures’

    2019. Joel Gruneau Brulin. The Psychology of Religion and Place, 183-200


    In the present chapter, place and God are critically examined as attachment figures. The chapter starts with a presentation of the foundations of attachment theory as presented by Bowlby and Ainsworth. The semantics of the word ‘attachment’ is discussed, followed by a theoretical discussion on the nature of an attachment relation based on three different approaches: an essentialist, functionalist and prototype. It is argued that an essentialist approach is too narrow since it does not account for differences due to cognitive maturation. A functionalist approach, on the other hand, is considered over-inclusive and fails to discriminate between objects that provide security and attachment figures. The author thus favours a prototype approach based on Wittgenstein’s idea of family resemblance within categories and argues that God could be seen as a symbolic, or non-corporeal attachment figure. With regard to places, the author concludes that, even though they can provide security, it’s questionable whether they should be considered as attachment objects. The author also stresses the importance of both theoretical stringency and well-controlled empirical studies when applying a new concept within a theoretical framework.

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  • IRT analyses of the Swedish Dark Triad Dirty Dozen

    2018. Danilo Garcia (et al.).


    Background: The Dark Triad (i.e., Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy) can be captured quickly with 12 items using the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen (Jonason and Webster, 2010). Previous Item Response Theory (IRT) analyses of the original English Dark Triad Dirty Dozen have shown that all three subscales adequately tap into the dark domains of personality. The aim of the present study was to analyze the Swedish version of the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen using IRT.

    Method: 570 individuals (n(males) = 326, n(females) = 242, and 2 unreported), including university students and white-collar workers with an age range between 19 and 65 years, responded to the Swedish version of the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen (Garcia et al., 2017a, b).

    Results: Contrary to previous research, we found that the narcissism scale provided most information, followed by psychopathy, and finally Machiavellianism. Moreover, the psychopathy scale required a higher level of the latent trait for endorsement of its items than the narcissism and Machiavellianism scales. Overall, all items provided reasonable amounts of information and are thus effective for discriminating between individuals. The mean itemdiscriminations (alphas) were 1.92 for Machiavellianism, 2.31 for narcissism, and 1.99 for psychopathy.

    Conclusion: This is the first study to provide IRT analyses of the Swedish version of the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen. Our findings add to a growing literature on the Dark Triad Dirty Dozen scale in different cultures and highlight psychometric characteristics, which can be used for comparative studies. Items tapping into psychopathy showed higher thresholds for endorsement than the other two scales. Importantly, the narcissism scale seems to provide more information about a lack of narcissism, perhaps mirroring cultural conditions.

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  • Religion vs. the Welfare State-The Importance of Cultural Context for Religious Schematicity and Priming

    2018. Joel Gruneau Brulin (et al.). Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 10 (3), 276-287


    Prior research, using correlational and self-report methodologies, suggests that religion and public welfare function as alternate security/insurance systems. Consequently, in countries with more expansive public welfare systems people report less religiosity. The present studies expand this field by utilizing experimental methodology and by replicating and extending two previous experiments in both a secular/welfare state context (Sweden) and a religious/nonwelfare state context (the United States). In the first set of experiments, we tested if cognitive access to religious and welfare-related mental schemas differ depending on context. We also tested whether previous findings indicating that people cognitively turn to religion when exposed to threat replicate and extend to the welfare system. In the second set of experiments, we tested whether religious and welfare reminders lead to increased risk taking in these contexts. Our findings show that participants in the secular/welfare state context had lower cognitive access to religious schemas and were less willing to take risks after religious reminders. However, our findings did not replicate those from previous studies: our participants did not have increased cognitive access to religion, nor public welfare, after threat primes. Similarly, our participants were generally not more prone to risk taking after reminders of religion (or public welfare), although such an effect was obtained specifically on high-religious participants. We conclude that cultural context is important to consider when studying psychological functions of religion, and we suggest that the failed replications may be due to cultural, contextual factors. Finally, religious reminders may have contradictory influences on risk taking.

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  • The place of place within the attachment-religion framework: A commentary on the circle of place spirituality.

    2018. Joel Gruneau Brulin, Pehr Granqvist. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion 29, 175-185


    In our response to “the Circle of Place Spirituality” we note that, in revised form, the presented model could make a contribution to the attachment-religion framework. We contend that exploration of places may facilitate a sense of closeness to God. However, we raise conceptual concerns regarding “attachment to place” and we reflect on the fuzzy boundary conditions of attachment relationships. Using late Wittgenstein’s idea of “family resemblances” and later prototype models of categorization, we emphasize that there are substantial dissimilarities between people’s relationships to physical places on the one hand and their relationships with interpersonal partners and anthropomorphized entities (such as God) on the other. The attachment construct generally applies to the latter, but not the former.

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