Personality and Social Psychological Perspectives on Adult Attachment: Theory, Research, and Current Controversies
PSCH 593 – CRN 37658 - Graduate Seminar in Social and Personality Psychology
Instructor: R. Chris Fraley
Location & Time: Tuesdays, 9:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m., Room 815 Psychology Building
Overview and Course Objectives
Over the last three decades, attachment theory has emerged as one of the leading frameworks for the study of close relationships, personality processes, and social and emotional development. The theory has gained in popularity largely because it addresses a wide range of issues of interest to psychologists, including the evolution and development of intimate relationships; the defensive regulation of thought, feeling, and action; the role of mental representations in interpersonal behavior; and the processes underlying mental health. Moreover, the theory is intellectually compelling because it draws upon data and insights from a range of perspectives, including developmental, social, personality, cybernetic, evolutionary, and psychoanalytic.
The objective of this seminar is to review theory and research on adult attachment and to discuss contemporary issues and debates in the field.
We will meet for 2 hours in a single session once a week at a date and time to be announced. Each week we will read and discuss two to three articles. One to two members of the class will be asked to facilitate the discussion and those members will also be asked to select one or two unique papers that have been published within the last two years. Early in the semester I will spend approximately 30 to 60 minutes providing introductory overviews and lectures. Once you have learned the basics of the theory, I will allow the class to take on more of a discussion-oriented structure.
Grading and Assignments
Each week you will need to submit a brief written summary of your reactions to that week's readings. You should submit your reactions via e-mail to rcfraley before 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday mornings.
Your reactions should focus on insights, criticisms, and questions regarding the readings. Although I encourage you to raise any questions you may have (e.g., "What does the author mean by X?"), I'd prefer that you limit your writen responses to questions of the "What are the implications of Idea X for Y?" and "Doesn't this seem incompatible with Z?" variety. Your reactions will be graded with respect to three factors: (a) whether your reaction was submitted on time, (b) the quality of your writing (i.e., clarity, grammar, coherence), and (c) the quality of your ideas (i.e., do they reflect a careful reading and consideration of the issues? do they have the potential to generate productive discussion?).
After the first few weeks, one or two students will be assigned to guide the discussion for each meeting. Discussion leaders will be asked to spend approximately 10 minutes summarizing the readings to ensure that everyone is on the same page and generating and leading a discussion. Discussion leaders may be asked to read an additional one or two articles on the topic at hand to supplement the discussion.
Required text: Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2007). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Press.
Please note that the reading list will be updated online as the semester progresses. In the meantime, some of these entries will serve as placeholders from a previous section of this course I taught a few years ago. I will make the readings available each week rather than creating and releasing a packet at the start of the semester.
Background and History
Introduction and Overview Attachment theory as a "grand theory" in social, personality, and developmental psychology
Bowlby's ethological attachment theory: Fundamental principles and concepts
Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E. & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment. A psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. [Chapter 1].
Bowlby, J. (1969/1982). Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Attachment. New York: Basic Books. [chapters 1 - 3]
Bretherton, I. (1992). The origins of attachment theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Developmental Psychology, 28, 759-775.
Attachment in infancy and early childhood
Colin, V. L. (1996). Human attachment. New York: McGraw Hill. [Chapter 3: Research Methods for Infancy]
Weinfield, N. S., Sroufe, L. A., Egeland, B., Carlson, E. A. (2008). Individual differences in infant-caregiver attachment: Conceptual and empirical aspects of security. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications (2nd Ed.) (pp. 78-101). New York: Guilford.
The Theory of Adult Attachment
Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. R. (1987). Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 511-524.
Hazan, C., and Shaver, P.R. (1994). Attachment as an organizational framework for research on close relationships. Psychological Inquiry, 5, 1-22.
Shaver, P. R., & Hazan, C. (1988). A biased overview of the study of love. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 5, 473-501.
Shaver, P. R., Hazan, C., & Bradshaw, D. (1988). Love as attachment: The integration of three behavioral systems. In R. J. Sternberg & M. Barnes (Eds.), The psychology of love (pp. 68-99). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Simpson, J. A., & Rholes, W. S. (1998). Attachment in adulthood. In J. A. Simpson & W. S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships (pp. 3-21). New York: Guilford. [pages 3 - 12]
Models of individual differences in attachment organization: Alternative conceptualizations and assessment methods
Bartholomew, K., & Howrowitz, L. (1991). Attachment styles among young adults: A test of the four-category model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 226-245.
Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2007). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Press. [Chapter 4: Measurement of attachment-related constructs in adulthood.]
Fraley, R. C., & Waller, N. G. (1998). Adult attachment patterns: A test of the typological model. In J. A. Simpson & W. S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships (pp. 77-114). New York: Guilford Press.
Roisman, G.I., Holland, A., Fortuna, K., Fraley, R.C., Clausell, E., & Clarke, A. (2007). The Adult Attachment Interview and self-reports of attachment style: An empirical rapprochement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 678-697.
Fraley, R. C., Waller, N. G., & Brennan, K. A. (2000). An item response theory analysis of self-report measures of adult attachment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 350-365.
Basic Processes and Empirical Advances
Internal working models: Structure and process
Collins, N. L., Guichard, A. C., Ford, M. B., & Feeney, B. C. (2004). Working models of attachment: New developments and emerging themes. In W. S. Rholes & J. A. Simpson (Eds.), Adult Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Implications (pp. 196-239). New York: Guilford.
Mikulincer, M., Gillath, O., & Shaver, P. R. (2002). Activation of the attachment system in adulthood: Threat-related primes increase the accessibility of mental representations of attachment figures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 881-895.
Baldwin, M. W., Keelan, J. P. R., Fehr, B., Enns, V., & Koh- Rangarajoo, E. (1996). Social cognitive conceptualization of attachment working models: Availability and accessibility effects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 94-104.
Mikulincer, M., & Horesh, N. (1999). Adult attachment style and the perception of others: The role of projective mechanisms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 1022-1034.
Dewitte, M., De Houwer, J., & Buysse, A. (2008). On the role of the implicit self-concept in adult attachment. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 24, 282-289.
General and specific representations of attachment
Klohnen, E. C., Weller, J. A., Luo, S., & Choe, M. (2005). Organization and predictive power of general and relationship-specific attachment models: One for all, and all for one? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 1665-1682.
Cozzarelli, C., Hoekstra, S. J., & Bylsma, W. H. (2000). General versus specific mental models of attachment: Are they associated with different outcomes? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 605-618.
Sibley, C. G., & Overall, N. C. (2008). Modeling the hierarchical structure of attachment representations: A test of domain differentiation. Personality and Individual Differences, 44, 238-249.
Fraley, R. C. (2007). A connectionist approach to the organization and continuity of working models of attachment. Journal of Personality, 75, 1157-1180.
Pierce, T. & Lydon, J. (2001). Global and specific relational models in the experience of social interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 613-631.
Attachment Dynamics and Romantic Attraction
Holmes, B. M., & Johnson, K. R. (2009). Adult attachment and romantic partner preference: A review. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26, 33-52.
Eastwick, P. W. & Finkel, E. J. (2008). The attachment system in fledgling relationships: An activating role for attachment anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 628-647.
Brumbaugh, C. C., & Fraley, R. C. (2010). Adult attachment and dating strategies: How do insecure people attract mates? Personal Relationships, 17, 599-614.
Overall, N.C., & Sibley, C.G. (2008). Attachment and attraction toward romantic partners versus relevant alternatives within daily interactions. Personality and Individual Differences, 44, 1126-1137.
Watkins, C.D., DeBruine, L. M., Smith, F. G., Jones, B. C., Vukovic, J. & Fraccaro, P. J. (2011). Like father, like self: Emotional closeness to father predicts women's preferences for self-resemblance in opposite-sex faces. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32, 70-75.
Attachment Processes in Established Relationships
Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2007). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Press. Chapter 10: Attachment processes and couple functioning.
Butner, J., Diamond, L., & Hicks, A. (2007). Attachment style and two forms of emotion co-regulation between romantic partners. Personal Relationships, 14, 431-455.
Henderson, A. J. Z., Bartholomew, K., Trinke, S., & Kwong, M. J. (2005). When loving means hurting: An exploration of attachment and intimate abuse in a community sample. Journal of Family Violence, 20, 219-230.
Stability and change in attachment patterns
Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2007). Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Press. [Chapter 5: pp. 116-120 and 135-146.]
Baldwin, M. W., & Fehr, B. (1995). On the instability of attachment style ratings. Personal Relationships, 2, 247-261.
Fraley, R. C., & Brumbaugh, C. C. (2004). A dynamical systems approach to understanding stability and change in attachment security. In W. S. Rholes & J. A. Simpson (Eds.), Adult attachment : Theory, research, and clinical implications (pp. 86-132). New York: Guilford Press.
Davila, J., Burge, D., & Hammen, C. (1997). Why does attachment style change? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 826-838.
Davila, J., & Sargent, E. (2003). The meaning of life (events) predicts change in attachment security. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1383-1395.
Davila, J., & Cobb, R. (2003). Predicting change in self-reported and interviewer-assessed adult attachment: Tests of the individual difference and life stress models of attachment change. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 859-870.
Genetic and Interpersonal Contributions to Adult Attachment and Relationship Functioning
Donnellan, M. B., Burt, S. A., Levendosky, A. & Klump, K. (2008). Genes, personality, and attachment in adults: A multivariate behavioral genetic analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 3-16.
Dinero, R. E., Conger, R. D., Shaver, P. R., Widaman, K. F., & Larsen-Rife, D. (2011). Influence of family of origin and adult romantic partners on romantic attachment security. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 1, 16-30.
Simpson, J. A., Collins, W. A., Tran, S., & Haydon, K. C. (2007). Attachment and the experience and expression of emotions in adult romantic relationships: A developmental perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 355-367.
Gillath, O., Shaver, P. R., Baek, J. M., & Chun, S. D. (2008). Genetic correlates of adult attachment style. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1396-1405.
Englund, M., Kuo, S., Puig, J., & Collins, W. A. (2011). Early roots of adult competence: The significance of close relationships from infancy to adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35, 490-496.
Zayas, V., Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Aber, J. L. (2011). Roots of adult attachment: Maternal caregiving at 18 months predicts adult attachment to peers and partners. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 289-297.
Psychological defense and hyperactivating and deactivating strategies
Shaver, P. R., & Mikulincer, M. (2005). Attachment theory and research: Resurrection of the psychodynamic approach to personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 39, 22-45.
Mikulincer, M., Dolev, T., & Shaver, P. R. (2004). Attachment-related strategies during thought-suppression: Ironic rebounds and vulnerable self-representations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 940-956.
Fraley, R. C., Niedenthal, P. M., Marks, M. J., Brumbaugh, C. C., & Vicary, A. (2006). Adult attachment and the perception of emotional expressions: Probing the hyperactivating strategies underlying anxious attachment. Journal of Personality, 74, 1163-1190.
Edelstein, R. S., & Gillath, O. (2008). Avoiding interference: Adult attachment and emotional processing biases. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 171-181.
Ein-Dor, T., Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2011). Attachment insecurities and the processing of threat-related information: Studying the schemas involved in insecure people's coping strategies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 78-93.
Evolution and Attachment: Normative Processes and Individual Differences
Kirkpatrick, L. A. (1998). Evolution, pair-bonding, and reproductive strategies: A reconceptualization of adult attachment. In J. A. Simpson & W. S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships (pp. 353-393). New York: Guilford.
Del Giudice, M. (2009). Sex, attachment, and the development of reproductive strategies. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32, 1-21
Eastwick, P. W. & Finkel, E. J. (2012). The evolutionary armistice: Attachment bonds moderate the function of ovulatory cycle adaptations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 174-184..
Ein-Dor, T., Mikulincer, M., Doron, G., Shaver, P. R. (2010). The attachment paradox: How can so many of us (the insecure ones) have no adaptive advantages? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5, 123-141.
Fraley, R. C., Brumbaugh, C. C., & Marks, M. J. (2005). The evolution and function of adult attachment: A comparative and phylogenetic analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 731-746.
Attachment and Organizational Behavior
Harms, P. D. (2011). Adult attachment styles in the workplace. Human Resource Management Review, 21, 285-296.
Iris, Emily, and Kevin
Simmons, B., Gooty, J., Nelson, D., & Little, L. (2009). Secure attachment: Implications for hope, trust, burnout, and performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 30, 233-247.
Davidovitz, R., Mikulincer, M., Shaver, P., Izsak, R., & Popper, M. (2007). Leaders as attachment figures: Leaders' attachment orientations predict leadership-related mental representations and followers' performance and mental health. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 632-650.
Desivilya, H., Sabag, Y., & Ashton, E. (2006). Prosocial tendencies in organizations: The role of attachment styles and organizational justice in shaping organizational citizenship behavior. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 14, 22-42.
Attachment and Psychotherapy, Psychopathology, and Adjustment
Mallinckrodt, B. (2010). The psychotherapy relationship as attachment: Evidence and implications. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 27, 262-270.
Gillath, O., Selcuk, E., & Shaver, P. R. (2008). Moving toward a secure attachment style: Can repeated security priming help? Social and Personality Psychology Compass 2/4, 1651-1666.
Carnelley, K. B., & Rowe, A. C. (2010). Priming a sense of security: What goes through people’s minds? Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27, 253-261.
Mickelson, K. D., Kessler, R. C., & Shaver, P. R. (1997). Adult attachment in a nationally representative sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 1092-1106.