Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Theodore Bartholomew

Reader 2

Jennifer Groscup

Rights Information

© 2024 Willa A. Grfka


As the United States’ consciousness of non-normative relationships evolves, polyamorous family structures are becoming increasingly recognized, challenging traditional views of parenting and attachment. Previous research has cited the relational, emotional, and financial benefits and the social stigmas of amorality and unsustainability associated with polyamory; however, less is known about the effects of polyamorous parenting on children’s attachment styles. The present research seeks to investigate how the adolescent’s attachment style is influenced by their experiences growing up in a polyamorous family structure as compared to a monogamous family structure. Adolescents from diverse family setups throughout the United States will report on their family structures, attachment styles, and experiences through completion of a series of surveys. The study hypothesizes that adolescents raised by polyamorous parents and their partners are more likely than those raised by monogamous parents to develop secure attachment styles – especially when adolescents perceive a high level of openness of communication from their parents, a high level of acceptance from their parents, a high level of social belonging within groups of peers, and positive experiences with visibility and disclosure. Findings from this study could inform psychological and societal understandings of family diversity, challenge established assumptions in attachment theory, and contribute to more inclusive family support practices.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.