The relationship between perceived parental models, anxiety and the attachment style in adult age

Andreea Ionescu


Having as a starting point the perspective offered by the attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969) and the idea that during the early relationship between parent and child a certain attachment style is formed, this present study aims to verify the linkage between parental models described by the participants and their adult type of attachment, taking into account their anxiety trait of personality. The attachment style is relatively stable during the lifespan and is also expressed in the context of other important ulterior relationships. This study was conducted on 106 persons (53 couples), with an age range between 22 and 48 years, the subjects coming from urban areas. The variables described in the hypothesis (self-reported parental models, the adult attachment style and the anxiety trait of personality) have been correlated and, in order to see what the significant predictors are, as well as their importance order in the explanation of the attachment dimensions, the regression analysis has been applied. The results of this study showed that there are significant correlations between an adult‟s anxiety as a trait and both adult attachment dimensions, anxiety and avoidance. Also, although the parental model, perceived as overprotective, correlates with the couple anxiety and avoidance, the parental model perceived as offering emotional warmth correlates significantly with a lower degree of avoidance (as a dimension of the couple attachment) but does not correlate with the other dimension, anxiety; nevertheless, the rejective perceived model does not correlate with either of the couple attachment styles. Last but not least, both dimensions of the adult attachment style in a couple can be explained by specific contributions of the participants‟ self-reported parental models, as well as by the degree of their anxiety trait.

adult attachment styles, anxiety, avoidance, parental models, rearing practices.

Andreea Ionescu – Al. I. Cuza University, Iaşi, Romania, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences

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