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1. ROMANTIC LOVE CONCEPTUALISED AS AN ATTACHMENT PROCESS (HAZAN AND SHAVER, 1987)<br /><ul><li>AIMS – to explore the possibility that attachment…
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  • 1. ROMANTIC LOVE CONCEPTUALISED AS AN ATTACHMENT PROCESS (HAZAN AND SHAVER, 1987)<br /><ul><li>AIMS – to explore the possibility that attachment theory offers a valuable perspective on adult romantic love and to create a framework for understanding love, lowliness and grief at different points in the life cycle
  • 2. PREDICTIONS – 1. 60% of adults will classify themselves as securely attached, and the other two types will be fairly evenly split (anxious-avoidant, anxious-ambivalent) – Ainsworth found this in babies using the strange situation. 2. There will be a correlation between adults’ attachment styles, and the type of parenting they received as children. 3. Adults with different attachment styles will display different characteristic mental models (internal representations)of themselves and their major social interaction partners (this related to the child’s expectations regarding the mother’s accessibility and responsiveness).
  • 3. METHOD – Ainsworth’s attachment styles had to be made into something that would be appropriate for adults. This was done via a love quiz in local newspaper (shown below, in the results section). Participants also used a list of adjectives and selected ones that best described their relationship with their parents. They tested two samples:
  • 4. 205 men and 415 women aged 14-82, 91% said they were ‘primarily heterosexual’, 42% were married, 28% divorced or widowed, 9% living with a lover and 31% were dating (some checked more than one category)108 undergraduate students, 38 men and 70 women (mean age 18). They completed the questionnaire as a class exercise. They also answered items that focused more on the self side of the mental model (as opposed to the partner), as well as additional items measuring loneliness
  • 5. RESULTS - Hypothesis One</li></ul>CLASSIFICATION% OF RESPONDENTSRESPONSESecurely-attached56I find it relatively easy to get close to others and m comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don’t often worry about being abandoned o about someone getting too close to me.Anxious-avoidant23-25I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others; I find it difficult to trust them completely, difficult to allow myself to depend on them. I am nervous when anyone gets too close, and often, love partners want me to be more intimate than i feel comfortable being.Anxious-ambivalent19-20I find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. Often worry that my partner doesn’t really love me or won’t want to stay with me. I want to merge completely with another person, and this desire sometimes scares people away.<br />Both samples were also asked to describe ‘the most important love relationship you have ever had, why you got involved in it, and why it turned out the way it did... it may be a past or current relationship, but only choose the most important one.<br />The responses from both samples were very similar. Those classified as securely attached described this special relationship as especially happy, friendly and trusting, being able to accept and to support their partner despite his/her faults. Their relationships also tended to last longer and, if married, were less likely to end in divorce.<br />Hypothesis Two<br />Attachment styleType of parentingSecurely attachedReadily available, attentive, responsiveAnxious avoidantUnresponsive, rejecting, inattentiveAnxious ambivalentAnxious, fussy, out-of-step wit child’s needs, only available/responsive some of the time<br />The results above show, as predicted, a correlation between adult attachment style and type of parenting respondents received as children.<br />Hypothesis Three<br />Questions about the mental module of self and relationships were answered in line with the prediction only in sample one, whose items were more focused on the partner or relationship than the self.<br />The securely attached believed in lasting love. They thought that although romance might fade, genuine love is enduring. They generally find others trustworthy, and have confidence in themselves as likeable.The anxious avoidant are a bit more doubtful about whether this kind of love exists. They also think that you don’t need a love partner in order to be happy.The anxious ambivalent express more self-doubts, but compared with the anxious avoidant, don’t try to hide their feelings of insecurity.<br /><ul><li>CONCLUSION – support was found for all three hypotheses. Ainsworth’s attachments finding percentages for young children were closely matched by the percentages of adult attachments falling within the three categories. The correlation between adults’ attachment styles and their recollections of the kind of parenting they experienced is similar to Ainsworth’s attachment findings. The mental models of adults differed according to their attachment styles. The securely attached were far more positive and optimistic about both themselves and (potential) love partners, compared with either of the insecurely attached.
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  • 7. 3419475829310EVALUATION –Hazan and Shaver did manage to provide a normative account of romantic love (i.e. an account of typical processes of romantic attachment) and an understanding of individual differences in adult relationship styles (Feeney, 1999). This study was of interest to researchers, because it attempted to bridge the gap between infant attachment and theories of later romantic love. However, there is the issue of continuity between early childhood and adult experience – it is perhaps the exception and not the rule that if someone has a bad childhood, all their later relationships will be bad also. Hazan and Shaver’s correlations between current attachment style and parent variables were higher for the younger of the two samples – this suggests that continuity decreases as one gets older. The average person has several friendships and romantic relationships, which give opportunity to revise mental models of the self and others. Main et al. (1985) gives support for this view. There was a strong association between adults’ attachment history and the attachment styles of their own young children. However, some adults who had been insecurely attached to their own parents had children who were securely attached to them. These adults had worked through their bad experiences and had more positive mental models. There are problems with the measurements used in Hazan and Shaver’s study – the strange situation looks at unique relationships, and not characteristics of the child. It is possible that adult’s choice of paragraphs describing attachment styles may reflect the state of a current relationship – e.g. if you’ve just walked in on your partner with someone else, you might be more likely to perceive relationships in general in a negative way. To define attachment style, participants had to choose just one paragraph (forced choice). It is possible that this is not a valid measure. Parkes (2006) says that one of the weaknesses of the strange situation is that attachment styles are seen as clear cut and the ‘strength’ of the attachment style is not measured – maybe some people are more securely attached than others.
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