Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 72 Issue 3 (September 1999), Pages 285-425

Attachment style and adult love relationships and friendships: A study of a group of women at risk of experiencing relationship difficulties (pages 305-321)

This study examines the relationship between attachment style and love relationships and friendships in a group of women (N = 40) known to be at risk of experiencing relationship problems. The association between attachment style and measures of self‐esteem and depression were also investigated. Women with a secure attachment style had more positive ratings in the domain of adult love relationships than women with insecure attachment style (avoidant and ambivalent) and difficulties in adult love relationships werefound to be particularly related to an avoidant attachment style. Insecure attachment style was also related to having cohabited with a deviant partner. Adult attachment style was not found to be related to ratings of current mood but was significantly related to self‐esteem and to ratings of functioning in the domain of adult friendships. In particular, participants with an anxious‐ambivalent attachment style had more negative self‐esteem than secure participants. Secure participants had more positive ratings in the domain of adult friendships than insecure participants and a moderately significant association was also found between difficulties in the domain of adult friendships and an anxious‐ambivalent attachment style. In addition, 20% (N = 8) of the women also reported attachment styles characterized by high levels of avoidance and ambivalence: this group was found to have more pervasive difficulties in their close relationships than women who endorsed a single dominant attachment style.

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