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Attachment and Identity - the role of parents, partners and peers for young adults

Conference contribution
Authors Caroline Järdmo
Ann Frisén
Published in Nordic Attachment Network (NAN) Annual Meeting & Conference. Gothenburg, Sweden, September 4-5.
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Subject categories Psychology


Previous research has found a small but significant relationship between attachment in adulthood and ego identity development, showing that secure attachment has a positive correlation with identity achievement and a negative correlation with identity diffusion. Although transference of attachment functions from parents to peers and identity development are theorized to be central developmental tasks in adolescence and young adulthood, the literature combining the two is scarce. Therefore the aim of this study is to investigate the connection between self-reported attachment behaviors towards individuals of significance, and identity status in the romantic relationships domain of the Identity Status Interview. Young adults (N=123, Mage=33.3) were interviewed and completed the WHOTO-questionnaire concerning attachment-related functions (proximity seeking, safe haven, separation distress and secure base). Findings show that while individuals coded to identity achievement and foreclosed identity chose current family to a greater extent than family of origin, the opposite was true of participants with identity diffusion. Interviews from a subsample of participants (n=9), who were in long-term relationships but did not choose current family for attachment-related functions, were analyzed qualitatively and four themes emerged: The unimportance of being in a relationship, The functionality of having a partner, Ambivalence and “I never thought about it”.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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