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Adult attachment, working models and relationship quality in dating couples

Author(s): Collins NL, Read SJ

Abstract

Three studies examined correlates of adult attachment. In Study 1, a scale to measure adult attachment style dimensions (ASDs) was developed based on C. Hazan and P. Shaver's (see record 1987-21950-001) categorical measure. Factor analyses revealed 3 dimensions underlying this measure: the extent to which an individual (1) is comfortable with closeness, (2) feels he or she can depend on others, and (3) is anxious or fearful about such things as being abandoned or unloved. Study 2 explored the relation between ASDs and working models of self and others. ASDs were related to self-esteem, expressiveness, instrumentality, trust in others, beliefs about human nature, and styles of loving. Study 3 explored the role of ASDs in 3 aspects of ongoing dating relationships: partner matching on ASDs; similarity between the attachment of one's partner and caregiving style of one's parents; and relationship quality. Evidence was obtained for partner matching and for similarity between one's partner and one's parents, particularly the opposite-sex parent. ASDs were related to how each partner perceived the relationship. For women, Dimension 1 was the best predictor of relationship quality; and the best predictor for men was Dimension 3.

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