Transgenerational Patterns of Adult Attachment Relationships

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The purpose of the study is to examine adult attachment relationships among a group of college students and their parents. Two attachment hypotheses were tested: The mental model hypothesis for attachments with parents and romantic partners and the compensation hypothesis for attachment with God. Hypothesis 1 attempted to determine if there was agreement between parents and children about a self-reported attachment style. Support was found as students and parents had a significantly higher level of agreement when reporting a secure style of attachment between them, with sons being significantly highest. Hypothesis 2 examined agreement on attachment style between generations: Children's ... continued below

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x, 128 leaves : ill.

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Merck, Rhea Ann M. June 1996.

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  • Merck, Rhea Ann M.

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The purpose of the study is to examine adult attachment relationships among a group of college students and their parents. Two attachment hypotheses were tested: The mental model hypothesis for attachments with parents and romantic partners and the compensation hypothesis for attachment with God. Hypothesis 1 attempted to determine if there was agreement between parents and children about a self-reported attachment style. Support was found as students and parents had a significantly higher level of agreement when reporting a secure style of attachment between them, with sons being significantly highest. Hypothesis 2 examined agreement on attachment style between generations: Children's report of attachments to parents and parents' report of attachment to their parents. Results indicated that parents' reporting a secure style of attachment to their parents was significantly higher with their same gender parents. Hypothesis 3 produced two 15 x 15 correlation matrices including measures of romantic attachment and religiousness for children and parents. In general, further validity for measures used is provided in numerous expected correlations. Anxious and avoidant romantic attachment styles and desperate love were significantly positively related and were often negatively related to a secure style of attachment. Results indicate significant relationships between fathers' and children's (particularly daughters') romantic styles. The only significant correlation for mothers and sons was on religiousness; however, mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, as well as mothers and fathers were all significantly positively correlated on religiousness. Hypothesis 4 results indicated that when there was disagreement with fathers on attachment style, children scored higher on a measure of religiousness, supporting the compensation hypothesis. Hypothesis 5 found that children with secure attachments to both parents and mothers with high importance of religion also scored significantly higher on importance of religion, supporting the mental model hypothesis. Overall, this study suggests that the mental model and compensation hypotheses do not compete, but rather, coexist in different contexts, perhaps with mediating events that discriminate between the two processes.

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x, 128 leaves : ill.

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  • June 1996

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  • March 24, 2014, 8:07 p.m.

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Merck, Rhea Ann M. Transgenerational Patterns of Adult Attachment Relationships, dissertation, June 1996; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278195/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .