Written by:
January 19, 2022
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Attachment styles & their consequences

Last updated on September 4, 2022

Considering trauma and maltreatment are common among autistic people,[1]Trauma and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Review, Proposed Treatment Adaptations and Future Directions (Peterson, 2019)[2]Prevalence of co-occurring mental health diagnoses in the autism population: a systematic review and meta-analysis (Lai et al., 2019) and often occurs in our developmental years,[3]Traumatic Childhood Events and Autism Spectrum Disorder (Kerns, Newschaffer, & Berkowitz, 2015) I think it makes sense to have a look at the bond between parent and child during the child’s developmental years, and how the attachment style that results from this bond impacts us later in life.

In this article, we will have a look at attachment theory and the different attachment styles and their consequences with respect to cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development.


Disclaimer; refrigerator mother theory

Before we explore this topic, let me make a brief disclaimer and offer a bit of historical context. Although I will explore the consequences of disruptions in the bond between caregiver and child, I am in no way suggesting that autism is caused by this bond.

In his seminal paper on autism from 1943, Leo Kanner (1884–1981) called attention to what appeared to him as a lack of warmth among the parents of autistic children;[4]Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact (Kanner, 1943) and in a later paper from 1949, he suggested autism may be related to a “genuine lack of maternal warmth”.[5]Problems of nosology and psychodynamics of early infantile autism (Kanner, 1949)

Embrace Autism | Attachment styles & their consequences | portrait LeoKanner

Kanner noted that the fathers rarely indulged in children’s play, and stated that from the beginning:[6]Problems of nosology and psychodynamics of early infantile autism (Kanner, 1949)

Children were exposed to parental coldness, obsessiveness, and a mechanical type of attention to material needs only…

They were left neatly in refrigerators which did not defrost. Their withdrawal seems to be an act of turning away from such a situation to seek comfort in solitude.

In a 1960 interview, Kanner even went as far as to describe parents of autistic children as “just happening to defrost enough to produce a child”.[7]The Child Is Father (Kanner, 1960) | TIME Bruno Bettelheim (1903–1990) promoted this psychogenetic idea of autism being a disorder of parenting, which became known as refrigerator mother theory.[8]Psychogenesis | The Autism History Project This theory has been thoroughly discredited, and it seems very likely—to me, it’s even obvious—that the coldness Kanner observed in the parents was his own reading of autistic traits in the parents.

But even though autism is definitely not caused by this parent–child bond, it can nevertheless have a significant impact on our behavior, sense of self, and cognitive capacities later in life. Parents don’t necessarily know what’s best for their child, and their own traumas can undermine their ability to meet their child’s needs. So let’s have a look at what happens when those needs aren’t—or indeed are—sufficiently met.


Attachment theory

John Bowlby (1907–1990) developed an evolutionary theory of attachment, which suggests that children are driven to form attachment bonds with their caregiver (the so-called attachment figure). The evolutionary reason behind this drive (called the attachment behavioral system) is that this will help the child to survive.

But the attachment style that develops can have both positive and negative consequences. Attachments are most likely to form with those who responded accurately to the baby’s signals, not the person they spent more time with. The more the attachment figure attends to the child’s needs, the more safety and trust the child will experience, as they develop a secure attachment. And once a safe haven has been established, the child becomes more secure in their autonomy, and starts exploring the world.[9]Attachment and Loss, Vol. I (Bowlby, 1969)

Conversely, when the child’s needs are not met, they will develop an insecure attachment, characterized by anxiety and avoidance.


Attachment styles

Mary Ainsworth (1913–1999) conducted experimental studies with infants—among them the so-called Strange situation studies—and identified four attachment styles:[10]Attachment, Exploration, and Separation: Illustrated by the Behavior of One-Year-Olds in a Strange Situation (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970)

In the table below, I have compiled information about each attachment style and how the child responds to the departure of the caregiver, how they respond to a stranger in the room, and how they respond to the caregiver upon re-entry of the room.[13]Attachment, Exploration, and Separation: Illustrated by the Behavior of One-Year-Olds in a Strange Situation (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970)

Ainsworth’ attachment styles
AttachmentSeparation anxietyStranger anxietyCaregiver return
SecureThe child will show some distress when their caregiver leaves.The child may or may not be friendly with the stranger, but always shows more interest in interacting with the mother.The child composes themselves quickly when the caregiver returns.
AvoidantThe child shows no distress during separation.The child will often display maladaptive behaviors, avoids the caregiver, and will not explore very much regardless of who is there.The child shows little emotion when the caregiver departs or returns.
AmbivalentThe child is often highly distressed when the caregiver departs.The child will typically explore little, and is often wary of strangers, even when the caregiver is present.The child is generally ambivalent when the caregiver returns (subtype C2: ambivalent), or may show displays of anger or helplessness towards the caregiver (subtype C1: resistant).
DisorientedThe child will show inconsistent behaviors and be uncoordinated with respect to achieving either proximity or some relative proximity to the caregiver.The child may approach the stranger in an intrusion of desire for comfort, followed by losing muscular control and falling to the floor, overwhelmed by the intruding fear of the unknown and potential danger of the strange person.52% of disorganized infants continue to approach the caregiver, seek comfort, and cease their distress without clear ambivalent or avoidant behavior.[14]Parsing the Construct of Maternal Insensitivity: Distinct Longitudinal Pathways Associated with Early Maternal Withdrawal (Lyons-Ruth et al., 2013)

And in the table below, you can see how each attachment style rates on the insecurity and proximity-seeking sub-scales of the Vulnerable Attachment Style Questionnaire (VASQ).

Attachment styles features
Attachment styleInsecurityProximity-seekingKey features
SecureLowHighAdaptable, autonomous
AvoidantHighLowFearful, enmeshed
AmbivalentHighHighDismissive, disengaged
DisorientedHighVaryingUnresolved loss, cannot classify

Etiology

In the table below, you can see the different causes of each attachment style; what has to go wrong in the caregiver–child bond for the child to develop one of the insecure attachments.[15]Attachment, Exploration, and Separation: Illustrated by the Behavior of One-Year-Olds in a Strange Situation (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970)

Attachment causes & effects
Attachment styleCauseEffect
Secure attachmentThe parent is responsive to the child’s needs; they are sensitive, loving, and reassuring.The child learns they can depend on their parent, and hence they feel protected and secure.
Avoidant attachmentThe parent has ignored attempts to be intimate, and are generally insensitive and rejecting; they ignore, ridicule, and show annoyance.The child internalizes the belief that they cannot depend on this—or any other—relationship. They avoid interaction with the parent, minimize emotion, and distrust others.
Ambivalent/resistant attachmentThe parent does not consistently provide responsive care towards the child’s needs; they are unpredictable or self-centered (overwhelmed or wanting the child to meet their needs).The child learns that the parent cannot be relied upon, though they wish they could; they might cry and seek out the parent, then show anger and struggle when comforted.
Disoriented/disorganized attachmentDue to unresolved trauma, the parent shows unpredictable behavior; the parent is simultaneously a source of threat and a secure base (the so-called approach–avoidance dilemma).[16]Borderline personality disorder and the search for meaning: an attachment perspective (Holmes, 2003)[17]Disorganized attachment and borderline personality disorder: a clinical perspective (Holmes, 2004)

Mothers who experienced more serious partner violence were more likely to have infants with disorganized attachments to them.[18]Disorganized attachment associated with partner violence: A research note (Zeanah et al., 1999)
The child cannot rely on anything consistently, and will come to show overt displays of fear; contradictory behaviors that seem to lack goals or intentions; affects occurring simultaneously or sequentially; stereotypic, asymmetric, misdirected or jerky movements; stimming behaviors; or freezing and apparent dissociation.[19]Discovery of an insecure-disorganized/disoriented attachment pattern (Main & Solomon, 1986)[20]Procedures for identifying infants as disorganized/disoriented during the Ainsworth Strange Situation (Main & Solomon, 1990)

“Frightening, frightened, dissociated, sexualized, or otherwise atypical.”[21]Infant attachment strategies, infant mental lag, and maternal depressive symptoms: Predictors of internalizing and externalizing problems at age 7 (Lyons-Ruth et al., 1997)

Interesting fact: Borderline Personality Disorder is strongly associated with the disoriented attachment style.[22]Borderline personality disorder and the search for meaning: an attachment perspective (Holmes, 2003)[23]Disorganized attachment and borderline personality disorder: a clinical perspective (Holmes, 2004)

A central problem is that disorganized attachment disrupts the construction of a unitary internal working model of the self and the attachment figure;[24]Disorganized attachment, models of borderline states and evolutionary psychotherapy (Liotti, 2000) instead, an internal working model of the self and of the attachment figure develops that is multiple, fragmented, and incoherent.[25]Procedures for identifying infants as disorganized/disoriented during the Ainsworth Strange Situation (Main & Solomon, 1990)


Consequences

When you develop an insecure attachment in childhood, this will have an effect on your cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development.

In the table below, I compiled a wealth of information I could find—though far from exhaustive—about both insecure attachment styles and their consequences.

Consequences of insecure attachments
Domain/subjectAvoidant/dismissive attachmentAmbivalent/anxious attachmentDisoriented/disorganized attachment
Cognition
Problem-solving ability
Cognition
Interpersonal problem-solving ability
  • Disorganized children and their mothers were least likely of all attachment groups to display collaboration in joint problem-solving; the high levels of criticism from the mother and the negative emotional climate leads to a lack of joint focus in accomplishing tasks.[33]Disorganized attachment and developmental risk at school age (Moss, St-Laurent., & Parent, 1999)

Cognition
Cognitive response to affect
Cognition
Alexithymia
  • Among those with insecure attachment, those with preoccupied patterns had a high prevalence of alexithymia (65%). Dismissing patterns had a lower prevalence (35%).[36]Insecure attachment and alexithymia in young men with mood symptoms (Troisi, D’Argenio, Peracchio, & Petti, 2001)

  • Avoidance is associated with somatic symptoms, indicating that avoidant defenses might block conscious access to anxiety and depression (i.e. alexithymia).[37]Attachment style and bereavement reactions (Wayment & Vierthaler, 2002)

Cognition
Attention
Cognition
Cognitive distancing

Cognition
Moral judgments
Cognition
Persistence
Cognition
Work performance
  • Avoidantly attached individuals tended to be overinvolved with work, which resulted in effective work performance, but disrupted home life in the process.[51]Love and work: An attachment-theoretical perspective (Hazan & Shaver, 1990)

  • Avoidant attachment was associated with concern over hours of work, and difficulties in relationships at home and with social life.[52]The Relationship Between Interpersonal Attachment Styles and Work Difficulties (Hardy & Barkham, 1994)

  • Anxious/ambivalent attachments were associated with poorer work performance.[53]Love and work: An attachment-theoretical perspective (Hazan & Shaver, 1990)

  • Anxious/ambivalent attachment was strongly associated with reported anxiety about work performance and relationships at work.[54]The Relationship Between Interpersonal Attachment Styles and Work Difficulties (Hardy & Barkham, 1994)

Cognition
Image perception
Cognition
Positive events
Physiology
Physiological reactivity
Physiology
Cortisol levels
Physiology
Medical treatment
  • Highly avoidant insulin-dependent diabetics tend to rely on cognitive distancing and passive resignation, which were associated with poor adherence to medical treatment.[68]Dismissing Attachment and Outcome in Diabetes: The Mediating Role of Coping (Turan et al., 2003)

Physiology
Emotional expression
Physiology
Sex
  • Fearful avoidance is predictive of more sexual partners, as well as greater sexual compliance.[73]Fearful-Avoidant Attachment: A Specific Impact on Sexuality? (Favez, & Tessot, 2019)

  • Avoidant attachment was associated with a greater number of unwanted but consensual sexual experiences.[74]Associations between insecure attachment and sexual experiences (Gentzler & Kerns, 2004)

  • Anxious attachment in women was associated with a greater number of unwanted but consensual sexual experiences.[75]Fearful-Avoidant Attachment: A Specific Impact on Sexuality? (Favez, & Tessot, 2019)

  • Anxious attachment was associated with a greater number of unwanted but consensual sexual experiences.[76]Associations between insecure attachment and sexual experiences (Gentzler & Kerns, 2004)

Physiology
Sport
Social-emotional
Attachment system
Social-emotional
Intimacy
  • Avoidant people experienced less intimacy than secure people, but more commitment than ambivalent people in their relationships.[83]Attachment style and the structure of romantic love (Mikulincer & Erec, 1991)

  • Avoidant people were also found to underestimate partners’ love, and to want less intense love than secure and ambivalent people.[84]Attachment style and the structure of romantic love (Mikulincer & Erec, 1991)

  • The romantic relationship of ambivalent people was characterized by their failure to realize their desire for a warm and secure love.[85]Attachment style and the structure of romantic love (Mikulincer & Erec, 1991)

Social-emotional
Empathy
Disorganized attachment is associated with callous-unemotional traits.[87]Disorganized Attachment and Inhibitory Capacity: Predicting Externalizing Problem Behaviors (Bohlin et al., 2012)
Social-emotional
Self-esteem & ego
Social-emotional
Internalizing behaviors
Social-emotional
Aggression
Social-emotional
Test anxiety
  • People with an avoidant attachment style might be particularly vulnerable to test anxiety, thus negatively influencing achievement.[98]Attachment and cognition: A review of the literature (Ruiter & van IJzendoorn, 1993)

Social-emotional
Break-ups & separation
Social-emotional
Distress intensification
Social-emotional
Coping skills
Social-emotional
Anxiety
Social-emotional
Agoraphobia
Social-emotional
Appreciation
  • Those scoring high on avoidant attachment were less likely to feel grateful, and when asked to recall a situation in which they felt grateful to a relationship partner, they tended to remember mixed or negative experiences, involving more narcissistic threats and distrust, and less happiness and love.[137]Attachment, mental representations of others, and gratitude and forgiveness in romantic relationships (Mikulincer, Shaver, & Slav, 2006)

Social-emotional
Relationship quality
Social-emotional
Affect
Social-emotional
Suicidality
Social-emotional
Fear of death
  • Ambivalent people show stronger overt fear of death than secure and avoidant people, they were more likely to fear the loss of their social identity in death, and were more likely to fear the unknown nature of their death.[147]Attachment styles and fear of personal death: A case study of affect regulation (Mikulincer, Florian, & Tolmacz, 1990)

Social-emotional
PTSD symptoms
Social-emotional
Drug use
Online
Facebook use
Online
Belonging & approval
  • Those with anxious attachments use Facebook to maintain their social relationships, but feel ambivalent in the process. They are driven by two social goals: to belong and to be well-liked. Four elements of goal cognition function underpin these two goals:[156]Ambivalent Facebook users: Anxious attachment style and goal cognition (Chang, 2019)

  • Directive function: a motive to belong/to be well-liked, which triggers;

  • Regulatory function: social vigilance/self-vigilance on Facebook, leading to;

  • Control function: a fear of being excluded/social jealousy, which then leads to;

  • Arousal function: quiescent–agitated/happy–dejected ambivalent feelings

  • Anxiously attached people showed the same behaviors online as in their interpersonal relationships offline: a very pronounced need for approval and reassurances, and an exaggerated demand for care and attention.[157]The Role of Adult Attachment Style in Online Social Network Affect, Cognition, and Behavior (Rom & Alfasi, 2014)

Online
Community
Spirituality

An illustration of two dark, connected chains, symbolizing insecure attachment.


Positive outcomes

When you have been securely attached in your developmental years, you are likely to feel a lot more confident and secure later in life.  In the table below, you can see the positive outcomes of a secure attachment with respect to cognitive, physical, and social-emotional development.

Outcomes of secure attachment
DomainSecure attachment
Cognition
Attention
Cognition
Exploration
Cognition
Intelligence
Cognition
Problem-solving
Cognition
Threat
Physiological
Facial expressions
Social-emotional
Aggression & negativism
Social-emotional
Positivism
Social-emotional
Self-esteem & ego
Social-emotional
Well-being
Social-emotional
Relationship satisfaction
Social-emotional
Distress
Social-emotional
Emotional adjustment


Social-emotional
Suicidality
Social-emotional
PTSD symptoms

An illustration of two light, connected chains, symbolizing secure attachment.


Romantic compatibility

Lastly, I want to briefly discuss a few fascinating findings with respect to attachment style and partner selection. You would think people are most attracted to people with a secure attachment style, but not so! Research shows that people were most attracted to partners with similar attachment styles![198]Adult attachment, working models, and relationship quality in dating couples (Collins & Read, 1990)[199]Attachment Styles and Marital Adjustment among Newlywed Couples (Senchak & Leonard, 1992) So anxious people tend to date anxious partners—preferring them over secure and avoidant partners.[200]Adult attachment style and partner choice: Correlational and experimental findings (Frazier et al., 1996)

What I also find fascinating is that anxious individuals seemed particularly averse to avoidant partners.[201]Adult attachment style and partner choice: Correlational and experimental findings (Frazier et al., 1996) If you look at the Attachment styles features table in the Attachment styles section—and the Anxiety & avoidance table below—I think that makes a lot of sense, since anxiously attached people require a lot of proximity to their partners, while those with an avoidant style don’t deal well with a lot of proximity.

An illustration of an Anxious–Avoidant relationship.

Anxiety & avoidance
 Low anxietyHigh anxiety
Low avoidanceSecure
Comfortable with being close & independent
  • Confidence that one is worthy of love

  • Communicative and responsive

  • Able to be vulnerable

  • Clear and healthy boundaries

Anxious–preoccupied
Overly concerned with the uncertainty of a relationship
  • Requires higher levels of contact and closeness

  • Seeks validation and approval

  • Impulsive and manipulative

  • Weak or unrealistic boundaries

High avoidanceDismissive–avoidant
Values independence over intimacy & closeness
  • Distrustful of intentions/actions

  • Looks down on expression of emotion

  • Detached and cold

  • Rigid boundaries

Fearful–avoidant
Fearful of rejection & abandonment
  • Desires contact/closeness but expects to get hurt

  • Prone to negative and pessimistic assumptions

  • Passive and feels like a helpless victim

  • No boundaries

At the same time, though, research also shows that nevertheless anxious women were dating more avoidant men, and anxious men were more likely to be with less secure women.[202]Adult attachment, working models, and relationship quality in dating couples (Collins & Read, 1990)[203]Influence of attachment styles on romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Simpson, 1990) The reason being that their own attachment styles mutually confirmed their partner’s beliefs about the relationship; the avoidant partner is uneasy about commitment and too much intimacy, which are exactly the fears of the anxious partner; and for the avoidant partner, the distrust and demands for intimacy expressed by their anxious partner likewise confirms their expectations of relationships.[204]Attachment style, gender, and relationship stability: A longitudinal analysis (Kirkpatrick & Davis, 1994)

But your partner’s attachment style also informs your own evaluation of the relationship; both partners were less satisfied with their relationships when the man was avoidant or distant (rather than secure), and when the woman was anxious or preoccupied (i.e. with an ambivalent attachment).[205]Adult attachment, working models, and relationship quality in dating couples (Collins & Read, 1990) The table below gives an impression of how our views of ourselves and others inform how we relate to others.[206]Models of the self and other: Fundamental dimensions underlying measures of adult attachment (Griffin & Bartholomew, 1994)

Thoughts of self & others
 Positive thoughts of selfNegative thoughts of self
Positive thoughts of partnerSecure
Comfortable with intimacy & autonomy
Anxious–preoccupied
Dependent on others for self-worth; preoccupied with relationships
Negative thoughts of partnerDismissive–avoidant
Strongly independent; downplays importance of relationships
Fearful–avoidant
Fearful of intimacy; socially avoidant

And finally, not only do our attachment styles inform our partner choice, but the way we perceive our parents is also of influence—especially the way we see our mothers. For example, people who rated their mothers as more cold and ambivalent were less attracted to secure partners.[207]Adult attachment style and partner choice: Correlational and experimental findings (Frazier et al., 1996)

So it seems that we actually learn to be comfortable with our attachment style—even if it’s an insecure one. Developing an insecure attachment style is no fun; but once in place, it seems that on some level we regard that insecure attachment as a place of comfort. It may be dysfunctional and toxic, but at least we know what to expect. I find it quite amazing that the attachment style we develop ultimately defines who we are compatible with, and what kind of partner we are likely to choose.

There is a known psychological principle that says we are more likely to select partners based on our childhood wounds, so that through interacting with them, we can come to resolve our traumas. And I think that is what we are seeing here as well.


An illustration of a clipboard with a checklist or assessment.

Curious whether you have an insecure attachment?
Take the Vulnerable Attachment Style Questionnaire:

The VASQ

References

References
1 Trauma and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Review, Proposed Treatment Adaptations and Future Directions (Peterson, 2019)
2 Prevalence of co-occurring mental health diagnoses in the autism population: a systematic review and meta-analysis (Lai et al., 2019)
3 Traumatic Childhood Events and Autism Spectrum Disorder (Kerns, Newschaffer, & Berkowitz, 2015)
4 Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact (Kanner, 1943)
5, 6 Problems of nosology and psychodynamics of early infantile autism (Kanner, 1949)
7 The Child Is Father (Kanner, 1960) | TIME
8 Psychogenesis | The Autism History Project
9 Attachment and Loss, Vol. I (Bowlby, 1969)
10, 13, 15 Attachment, Exploration, and Separation: Illustrated by the Behavior of One-Year-Olds in a Strange Situation (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970)
11, 19 Discovery of an insecure-disorganized/disoriented attachment pattern (Main & Solomon, 1986)
12, 20, 25 Procedures for identifying infants as disorganized/disoriented during the Ainsworth Strange Situation (Main & Solomon, 1990)
14 Parsing the Construct of Maternal Insensitivity: Distinct Longitudinal Pathways Associated with Early Maternal Withdrawal (Lyons-Ruth et al., 2013)
16, 22 Borderline personality disorder and the search for meaning: an attachment perspective (Holmes, 2003)
17, 23 Disorganized attachment and borderline personality disorder: a clinical perspective (Holmes, 2004)
18 Disorganized attachment associated with partner violence: A research note (Zeanah et al., 1999)
21 Infant attachment strategies, infant mental lag, and maternal depressive symptoms: Predictors of internalizing and externalizing problems at age 7 (Lyons-Ruth et al., 1997)
24 Disorganized attachment, models of borderline states and evolutionary psychotherapy (Liotti, 2000)
26, 45 Adult attachment and emotional control (Feeney, 1995)
27, 46 Attachment styles and repressive defensiveness: The accessibility and architecture of affective memories (Mikulincer & Orbach, 1995)
28, 47 Repressive Coping Style and Adult Romantic Attachment Style: is there a relationship? (Vetere & Myers, 2002)
29, 30, 34, 35, 57, 58 Adult Attachment Style and Cognitive Reactions to Positive Affect: A Test of Mental Categorization and Creative Problem Solving (Mikulincer & Sheffi, 2000)
31, 32 The relationships among interpersonal problem solving behaviors, adult attachment patterns, and psychological symptoms (Ergin & Dağ, 2013)
33 Disorganized attachment and developmental risk at school age (Moss, St-Laurent., & Parent, 1999)
36, 38, 39 Insecure attachment and alexithymia in young men with mood symptoms (Troisi, D’Argenio, Peracchio, & Petti, 2001)
37 Attachment style and bereavement reactions (Wayment & Vierthaler, 2002)
40 Attachment, attention, and cognitive control: Attachment style and performance on general attention tasks (Gillath, Giesbrecht, & Shaver, 2009)
41, 42 Adult Attachment Style and Cognitive Reactions to Positive Affect: A Test of Mental Categorization and Creative Problem Solving (Dewitte & De Houwer, 2008)
43, 135 Links Between Disorganized Attachment Classification and Clinical Symptoms in School-Aged Children (Borelli, et al., 2010)
44 The association of unresolved attachment status and cognitive processes in maltreated adolescents (Webster, Hacket, & Joubert. 2009)
48, 49, 86 Empathy for the group versus indifference toward the victim: Effects of anxious and avoidant attachment on moral judgment (Robinson, Joel, & Plaks, 2015)
50 The role of avoidant attachment on college persistence and completion among youth in foster care (Okpych & Courtney, 2018)
51, 53 Love and work: An attachment-theoretical perspective (Hazan & Shaver, 1990)
52, 54 The Relationship Between Interpersonal Attachment Styles and Work Difficulties (Hardy & Barkham, 1994)
55, 56 Influence of adult attachment style on the perception of social and non-social emotional scenes (Vrtička, Sander, & Vuilleumier, 2012)
59 Physiological evidence for repressive coping among avoidantly attached adults (Diamond et al., 2006)
60, 62, 63, 65 Gender, attachment, and relationship duration on cardiovascular reactivity to stress in a laboratory study of dating couples (Kim, 2006)
61 The relationship of attachment insecurity to subjective stress and autonomic function during standardized acute stress in healthy adults (Maunder et al., 2006)
64 Attachment style in adjustment to conjugal bereavement (Field & Sundin, 2001)
66 Anxious attachment style predicts an enhanced cortisol response to group psychosocial stress (Smyth et al., 2015)
67, 97 Attachment relationships among children with aggressive behavior problems: The role of disorganized early attachment patterns (Lyons-Ruth, 1996)
68 Dismissing Attachment and Outcome in Diabetes: The Mediating Role of Coping (Turan et al., 2003)
69 Attachment representation and emotion regulation in adolescents: A psychobiological perspective on internal working models (Spangler & Zimmermann, 1999)
70 Attachment security with mother and father: Associations with adolescents’ reports of interpersonal behavior with parents and peers (Ducharme, Doyle, & Markiewicz, 2002)
71 Affective dimensions of attachment styles: Exploring self-reported attachment style, gender, and emotional experience among college students (Searle & Meara, 1999)
72 Attachment style, interpersonal perception accuracy, and relationship satisfaction in dating couples (Tucker & Anders, 1999)
73, 75 Fearful-Avoidant Attachment: A Specific Impact on Sexuality? (Favez, & Tessot, 2019)
74, 76 Associations between insecure attachment and sexual experiences (Gentzler & Kerns, 2004)
77 Standoffish Perhaps, but Successful as Well: Evidence That Avoidant Attachment Can Be Beneficial in Professional Tennis and Computer Science (Ein-Dor et al., 2011)
78, 81 Insecure attachment strategies are associated with cognitive alexithymia in patients with severe somatoform disorder (Koelen et al., 2015)
79, 82 Alexithymia: Advances in research, theory, and clinical practice (Bagby, & Taylor, 2018)
80 Attachment and Loss: Volume II: Separation, Anxiety and Anger (Bowlby, 1973)
83, 84, 85 Attachment style and the structure of romantic love (Mikulincer & Erec, 1991)
87 Disorganized Attachment and Inhibitory Capacity: Predicting Externalizing Problem Behaviors (Bohlin et al., 2012)
88, 91 Reciprocal relations between cognitive and affective development—with implications for sex differences (Anastasi, 1984)
89, 92, 98 Attachment and cognition: A review of the literature (Ruiter & van IJzendoorn, 1993)
90, 174 Infant–adult attachments on the kibbutz and their relation to socioemotional development 4 years later (Oppenheim, Sagi, & Lamb, 1988)
93 Chapter 5 Attachment Three Years Later. Relationships Between Quality of Mother-Infant Attachment and Emotional/Cognitive Development in Kindergarten (van IJzendoorn, van der Veer, & van Vliet-Visser, 1987)
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99, 100, 105, 134 Physical, Emotional, and Behavioral Reactions to Breaking Up: The Roles of Gender, Age, Emotional Involvement, and Attachment Style (Davis, Shaver, & Vernon, 2003)
101, 103, 112 Adult attachment and the suppression of unwanted thoughts (Fraley & Shaver, 1997)
102 Attachment-Related Strategies During Thought Suppression: Ironic Rebounds and Vulnerable Self-Representations (Mikulincer, Dolev, & Shaver, 2004)
104 Attachment-style differences in the ability to suppress negative thoughts: Exploring the neural correlates (Gillath et al., 2005)
106, 113, 125 The Association of Mothers’ Attachment Style and Their Psychological Reactions to the Diagnosis Of Infant’s Congenital Heart Disease (Berant, Mikulincer, & Florian, 2001)
107, 114, 126 Attachment Style and Mental Health: A 1-Year Follow-Up Study of Mothers of Infants with Congenital Heart Disease (Berant, Mikulincer, & Florian, 2001)
108, 115, 127 Mothers’ Attachment Style, Their Mental Health, and Their Children’s Emotional Vulnerabilities: A 7-Year Study of Children With Congenital Heart Disease (Berant et al., 2008)
109, 116, 128, 184 When Marriage Breaks Up-Does Attachment Style Contribute to Coping and Mental Health? (Birnbaum et al., 1997)
110, 117, 129 Attachment styles, coping strategies, and posttraumatic psychological distress: The impact of the Gulf War in Israel (Mikulincer et al., 1993)
111, 118, 124 Attachment-related psychodynamics (Shaver & Mikulincer, 2008)
119 Physical, Emotional, and Behavioral Reactions to Breaking Up: The Roles of Gender, Age, Emotional Involvement, and Attachment Style (Davis, Shaver, & Vernon, 2003)
120 Attachment style and romantic love: Relationship dissolution (Feeney & Noller, 1992)
121, 190 Predicting the Onset of Emotional Recovery Following Nonmarital Relationship Dissolution: Survival Analyses of Sadness and Anger (Sbarra, 2006)
122 The emotional sequelae of nonmarital relationship dissolution: Analysis of change and intraindividual variability over time (Sbarra & Emery, 2005)
123, 181 Influence of attachment styles on romantic relationships (Simpson, 1990)
130 Attachment styles, coping strategies, and posttraumatic psychological distress: The impact of the Gulf War in Israel (Mikulincer & Florian, 1998)
131 Attachment styles among young adults: A test of a four-category model (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991)
132 Adult romantic attachment: Theoretical developments, emerging controversies, and unanswered questions (Fraley & Bonanno, 2004)
133 Attachment Patterns in Childhood: Relationships, Coping, and Psychological State in Adults Seeking Psychiatric Help after Bereavement [unpublished manuscript] (Parkes, 2003)
136 Agoraphobia and anxious-ambivalent attachment: An integrative review (de Ruiter & van IJzendoorn, 1992)
137, 138 Attachment, mental representations of others, and gratitude and forgiveness in romantic relationships (Mikulincer, Shaver, & Slav, 2006)
139, 140, 141, 142 How anxious and avoidant attachment affect romantic relationship quality differently: A meta-analytic review (Li & Chan, 2012)
143 Attachment Style and the Regulation of Negative Affect: Exploring Individual Differences in Mood Congruency Effects on Memory and Judgment (Pereg & Mikulincer, 2004)
144, 145, 196 The Association Between Adult Attachment Style, Mental Disorders, and Suicidality (Palitsky et al, 2013)
146, 147 Attachment styles and fear of personal death: A case study of affect regulation (Mikulincer, Florian, & Tolmacz, 1990)
148, 149, 150, 197 The relationship between adult attachment style and post-traumatic stress symptoms: A meta-analysis (Woodhouse, Ayers, & Field, 2015)
151 Attachment style, gender, and relationship stability: A longitudinal analysis ​(Kassel, Wardle, & Roberts, 2007)
152, 154, 155 Attachment style, social skills, and Facebook use amongst adults ​(Oldmeadow, Quinn, & Kowert, 2013)
153, 157, 158 The Role of Adult Attachment Style in Online Social Network Affect, Cognition, and Behavior (Rom & Alfasi, 2014)
156 Ambivalent Facebook users: Anxious attachment style and goal cognition (Chang, 2019)
159 Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications, 2nd ed. (Cassidy & Shaver, 2008)
160, 161, 162 A Longitudinal Study of Changes in Religious Belief and Behavior as a Function of Individual Differences in Adult Attachment Style (Kirkpatrick, 1997)
163 Exploration, play, and cognitive functioning as related to child-mother attachment (Main, 1973)
164, 170 Mother–toddler problem solving: Antecedents in attachment, home behavior, and temperament (Frankel & Bates, 1990)
165 Mother–child interactions, attachment, and emergent literacy: A cross-sectional study (Bus & van IJzendoorn, 1988)
166 The relationship between quality of attachment in infancy and IQ in kindergarten (van IJzendoorn & van Vliet-Visser, 1988)
167 Adult Attachment Style and Cognitive Reactions to Positive Affect: A Test of Mental Categorization and Creative Problem Solving (Mikulincer & Sheffi, 2000)
168, 189, 191, 194 Adult attachment and cognitive and affective reactions to positive and negative events (Shaver & Mikulincer, 2008)
169 Adult attachment styles and emotional biases (Magai, Hunziker, Mesias, & Culver, 2000)
171 Continuity of Adaptation in the Second Year: The Relationship between Quality of Attachment and Later Competence (Matas, Arend, & Sroufe, 1978)
172 Continuity of Individual Adaptation from Infancy to Kindergarten: A Predictive Study of Ego-Resiliency and Curiosity in Preschoolers (Medway, Davis, Cafferty, & Chappell, 1995)
173 Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007)
175 Continuity of Individual Adaptation from Infancy to Kindergarten: A Predictive Study of Ego-Resiliency and Curiosity in Preschoolers (Arend et al., 1979)
176, 182, 192 The Association of Mothers’ Attachment Style and Their Psychological Reactions to the Diagnosis Of Infant’s Congenital Heart Disease (Berant, Mikulincer, & Florian, 2001a)
177 Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process (Hazan & Shaver, 1987)
178 Love and work: An attachment-theoretical perspective (Hazan & Shaver, 1990)
179 Attachment Style as a Predictor of Adult Romantic Relationships (Feeney & Noller, 1990)
180 Lovestyles and Attachment Styles Compared: Their Relations to Each Other and to Various Relationship Characteristics (Levy & Davis, 1988)
183 Attachment Style and Mental Health: A 1-Year Follow-Up Study of Mothers of Infants with Congenital Heart Disease (Berant, Mikulincer, & Florian, 2001b)
185 Mental models of attachment and coping with abortion (Cozzarelli, Sumer, & Major, 1998)
186 Appraisal of and Coping with a Real-Life Stressful Situation: The Contribution of Attachment Styles (Mikulincer & Florian, 1995)
187 The relationship between adult attachment styles and emotional and cognitive reactions to stressful events (Mikulincer & Florian, 1998)
188 Relationship of Attachment and Social Support to College Students’ Adjustment Following a Relationship Breakup (Moller et al., 2003)
193 Attachment styles, coping strategies, and posttraumatic psychological distress: The impact of the Gulf War in Israel (Mikulincer, Florian, & Weller, 1993)
195 Attachment and loss: a test of three competing models on the association between attachment-related avoidance and adaptation to bereavement (Fraley & Bonnano, 2004)
198, 202, 205 Adult attachment, working models, and relationship quality in dating couples (Collins & Read, 1990)
199 Attachment Styles and Marital Adjustment among Newlywed Couples (Senchak & Leonard, 1992)
200, 201, 207 Adult attachment style and partner choice: Correlational and experimental findings (Frazier et al., 1996)
203 Influence of attachment styles on romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Simpson, 1990)
204 Attachment style, gender, and relationship stability: A longitudinal analysis (Kirkpatrick & Davis, 1994)
206 Models of the self and other: Fundamental dimensions underlying measures of adult attachment (Griffin & Bartholomew, 1994)
This article
was written by:
martin-silvertant
Co-founder of Embrace Autism, and living up to my surname as a silver award-winning graphic designer. Besides running Embrace Autism and researching autism, I love typography and practice type design. I also fight dodecahedragons during sleep onset. I discovered I’m autistic when I was 19, and was diagnosed at 25. PS: I am trans, and Martin is my dead name. For articles under my current name, have a look at Eva Silvertant’s content.

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Although our content is generally well-researched
and substantiated, or based on personal experience,
note that it does not constitute medical advice.

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