Avoidant attachment and the experience of parenting

W. Steven Rholes, Jeff Simpson, Mike Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Guided by attachment theory, this research investigated connections between avoidant attachment styles and the experience of parenting after the birth of a couple's first child. One hundred and six couples completed a battery of measures approximately 6 weeks before and 6 months after the birth of their first child. As anticipated, parents with more avoidant attachment styles experienced greater stress after the birth of their child and perceived parenting as less satisfying and personally meaningful. Attachment theory maintains that adult attachment styles should affect relationships with adults and with one's children. The present findings provide some of the first evidence that selfreported adult romantic attachment styles, which have been the focus of attachment research by social and personality psychologists, are systematically associated with parent-child relationships. They also provide insight into the processes through which secure and insecure attachment styles might be transmitted from one generation to the next.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-285
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Attachment style
  • Avoidance
  • Stress
  • Transition to parenthood

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