Patterns of stability in adult attachment: An empirical test of two models of continuity and change

R. Chris Fraley, Amanda M. Vicary, Claudia Chloe Brumbaugh, Glenn I. Roisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations

Abstract

One of the core assumptions of attachment theory is that attachment representations are stable over time. Unfortunately, the data on attachment stability have been ambiguous, and as a result, alternative theoretical perspectives have evolved to explain them. The objective of the present research was to evaluate alternative models of stability by studying adults in 2 intensive longitudinal investigations. Specifically, we assessed attachment representations in 1 sample (N = 203) daily over a 30-day period and in the other sample (N = 388) weekly over a year. Analyses show that the patterns of stability that exist in adult attachment are most consistent with a prototype model-a model assuming that there is a stable factor underlying temporary variations in attachment. Moreover, although the Big Five personality traits exhibited a pattern of stability that was similar to that of attachment, they did not account for the stability observed in attachment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)974-992
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume101
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

Keywords

  • Attachment styles
  • Personality
  • Stability
  • Trait-state models

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