Evaluating types of attachment

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Effects of attachment type

Bowlby's theory predicted that there would be continuities between early attachment experience and later social and emotional behaviour.

Behaviour in later childhood

Prior and Glaser (2006) provided the following summary about the link between attachment types and later social functioning:

  • Secure attachment = less emotional dependence and higher achievement orientation
  • Avoidant attachment = later aggressiveness and generally negative
  • Resistant attachment = great anxiety and withdrawn behaviour
  • Disorganised attachment = hostile and aggressive behaviour

Adult romantic behaviour

Bowlby believed the reason for this link was because the mother's behaviour creates an internal working model of relationships that leads the infant to expect the same in later relationships. 

Hazan and Shaver (1987) investigated this hypothesis by using a 'Love Quiz'.

Method: the quiz asked about early experiences (to classify attachment type), about current love experiences and also about attitudes towards love.

Findings: there were characteristic patterns of later romantic behaviour associated with each early attachment type. For example, secure adults would say that current love relationships are positive and that they trust others whereas insecure-avoidant adults have a fear of closefullness and believe that love is not lasting nor is it necessary for happiness. 

This supports Bowlby's theory…

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