Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Kevin Carlson

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© 2015 Isabelle Kaplan

Abstract

How we attach to others, and more generally how we develop and maintain our attachment in our important relationships, has been a question that has captivated psychology researchers. This study introduces Context-Dependent Insecure Attachment (C-DIA), a new model of how childhood experiences are linked with adult attachment behavior. This model postulates that for people with insecure attachment, whether they exhibit anxious or avoidant behavior in romantic relationships is dependent on their dynamic with their partner. This is because different types of partners could trigger one of two working models of attachment, an anxious or avoidant one. These two opposing working models of attachment are a product of growing up in a two-parent household, where children likely would have been exposed to two working models of primary attachment relationships, likely one based in anxiety and one in avoidance. In adulthood, significant relationships would induce relatively anxious or avoidant behavior, depending on which working model was triggered. This model of C-DIA was tested using self-report vignettes, self-report written measures, and a romantic attachment interview. Results of Study 1 indicated that there were people who had high scores on anxiety and avoidance. Results of Study 2 indicated that those with high scores for anxious and avoidant attachment were likely to report experiencing C-DIA, and to report having parents who had a contrasting dynamic and attributes. Results of Study 3 were broadly not significant, but did not have enough variance in the sample in order to come to a definitive conclusion about C-DIA.

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