Revising Working Models Across Time: Relationship Situations That Enhance Attachment Security

Ximena B. Arriaga, Madoka Kumashiro, Jeffry A. Simpson, Nickola C. Overall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We propose the Attachment Security Enhancement Model (ASEM) to suggest how romantic relationships can promote chronic attachment security. One part of the ASEM examines partner responses that protect relationships from the erosive effects of immediate insecurity, but such responses may not necessarily address underlying insecurities in a person’s mental models. Therefore, a second part of the ASEM examines relationship situations that foster more secure mental models. Both parts may work in tandem. We posit that attachment anxiety should decline most in situations that foster greater personal confidence and more secure mental models of the self. In contrast, attachment avoidance should decline most in situations that involve positive dependence and foster more secure models of close others. The ASEM integrates research and theory, suggests novel directions for future research, and has practical implications, all of which center on the idea that adult attachment orientations are an emergent property of close relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-96
Number of pages26
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Portions of this research were supported by Grant 15076506 from the National Science Foundation, awarded to the first two authors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.


  • attachment security
  • interdependence
  • working models

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