Attachment working models and relationship quality in dating couples
Overview of Attachment Theory Attachment theory is one of the most exciting and promising areas of research and intervention in premarital and marital relationships (Jacobson and Gurman, 1995; Hazan and Shaver, 1994).
Much of the past research has investigated Bowlby’s “types” or “styles” of human attachment (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1980; Ainsworth, 1982; Hazan and Shaver, 1994).
However, Shaver and Hazan (1988) have argued that previous conceptualizations of romantic love could actually be integrated within the attachment framework.
Carnelley, Pietromonaco, and Jaffe (cited in Feeney and Noller, 1996) and Kunce and Shaver (1994) have also provided support for the link between attachment styles and the caregiving components of romantic love.
Therefore, a model of attachment is the best vehicle for presenting mate-selection education.
Falling in love is much more than just knowing what to look for in a prospective mate, or developing the right skills for handling a relationship.
It was proposed by Bowlby (1969, 1973, 1980) that sexuality and caregiving are independent behavioral systems.
Romantic love, then, encompassed these three crucial components: attachment, caregiving, and sexuality.
This integrative approach offers the promise of a comprehensive theory of romantic love.” (p. Attachment, then, is best conceptualized as a metarelationship concept which incorporates all the universal bonding forces that make up human love and closeness.
They found that the avoidant style were more accepting of casual, noncommited sex than the other attachment styles.
Hazan, Zeifman, and Middleton (1994) conducted a comprehensive study of the overlap between attachment style and sexual behaviors.
These in-depth descriptions of how infant-mother affectional bonds are formed and broken spawned a massive amount of research in infant, adolescent and adult attachments (see a review of research in Weiss, 1982 and Ainsworth, 1982), and specifically, the development of love and romance (Hazan and Shaver, 1987; 1994).
The majority of this research has continued to use the three styles of attachment (secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent) first proposed by Bowlby, and expanded by Bartholomew (1990) into a four-group model.