Adult attachment: Toward a rapprochement of methodological cultures

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Attachment security in adulthood is not profitably conceptualized as a single, monolithic construct. It is reflected both in adults' confidence in themselves and others in close relationships (as noted by social-personality psychologists) and in their ability to successfully construct a coherent life narrative about childhood experiences with primary attachment figures (as emphasized by developmental psychologists). Evidence suggests that measures tapping these forms of attachment-related variation represent the underlying structure of adult attachment similarly, in that both may be best captured by two continuously distributed, albeit correlated dimensions tapping anxiety and avoidance. Nonetheless, differing approaches to measuring adult security demonstrate weak empirical overlap, and emerging evidence suggests that each is associated with personal and interpersonal outcomes central to attachment theory in empirically distinct ways. Discussion focuses on how recent insights - in combination with needed experimental and longitudinal data - can help reconcile the developmental- and social-psychological literatures on adult attachment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-126
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult Attachment Interview
  • Meta-analysis
  • Self-reported attachment style
  • Taxometric analysis

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