Social Psychological Perspectives on Adult Attachment: Theory, Research, and Current Controversies

PSCH 518 – Graduate Seminar in Social and Personality Psychology
 

Fall 2003 | Call # 98253
Instructor: R. Chris Fraley | fraley@uic.edu
Location & Time: 1075 BSB | Tuesdays 12 – 2 p.m.

Overview and Course Objectives
Over the last decade, attachment theory has emerged as one of the leading frameworks for the study of close relationships, personality processes, and emotional dynamics. The theory has gained in popularity largely because it addresses a wide range of issues of interest to psychologists, including the evolution and development of intimate relationships; the defensive regulation of thought, feeling, and action; the role of mental representations in interpersonal behavior; and the processes promoting mental health. Moreover, the theory is intellectually compelling because it draws upon data and insights from a range of perspectives, including developmental, social, personality, cybernetic, evolutionary, and psychoanalytic. The objective of this seminar is to review the developments in adult attachment theory and research over the last two decades and to discuss important contemporary controversies and debates in the field.

Course Structure
Each week we will read and discuss two to three articles. Two members of the class will be asked to facilitate the discussion and those members will also be asked to select one or two unique papers from the "supplemental" section of the reading list below. Early in the semester I will spend approximately 30 to 60 minutes providing introductory overviews and lectures. Once you have learned the basics of the theory, I will allow the class to take on more of a discussion-oriented structure.

Grading and Assignments
Each week you will need to submit a written summary of your reactions to that week's readings. You should submit your reactions on-line by clicking this link: On-Line Reaction Papers. Reactions are due by 1:00 p.m. on Mondays. (The clock on the server that hosts our on-line reaction papers is five hours ahead of Chicago time. Thus, your reactions should be submitted by 6:00 on the server's clock and 1:00 on our clock.)

Your reactions should focus on insights, criticisms, and questions regarding the readings. Although I encourage you to raise any questions you may have, I'd prefer that you write less about questions of the "What does the author mean by X?" variety and more of the "What are the implications of Idea X for Y?" and "Doesn't this seem incompatible with Z?" variety. Your reactions will be graded with respect to three factors: (a) whether your reaction was submitted on time, (b) the quality of your writing (i.e., clarity, grammar, coherence), and (c) the quality of your ideas (i.e., do they reflect a careful reading and consideration of the issues? do they have the potential to generate productive discussion?).

Because you will be posting your reactions on-line where other class members can see them, I encourage you to read the reactions of other students before coming to class. This will help you get a feel for the ideas that others have and will give you the opportunity to consider answers, solutions, and counter-arguments before class. I will post the grade corresponding to each reaction paper on-line on Tuesday mornings.

Background and History

Week 1
Bowlby's ethological attachment theory

Required
Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E. & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment. A psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. [Chapter 1].

Bowlby, J. (1969/1982). Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Attachment. New York: Basic Books. [chapters 1 - 3]

Waters, E., Kondo-Ikemura, K., Posada, G. & Richters, J. E. (1990). Learning to love: Mechanisms and milestones. In M. R. Gunnar and L. A. Sroufe (Eds.) Self Processes and Development. The Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology. Vol. 23, (pp. 217-255). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Supplemental
Bretherton, I. (1992). The origins of attachment theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Developmental Psychology, 28, 759-775

Week 2
Attachment in infancy and early childhood

Required
Colin, V. L. (1996). Human attachment. New York: McGraw Hill. [Chapters 3 & 5]


Supplemental
Weinfield, N. S., Sroufe, L. A., Egeland, B., Carlson, E. A. (1999). The nature of individual differences in infant-caregiver attachment. In P. R. Shaver and J. Cassidy (Eds.), Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications (pp. 68-88). New York: Guilford.

The Theory of Adult Attachment

Week 3
Theoretical foundations

Required
Shaver, P. R., Hazan, C., & Bradshaw, D. (1988). Love as attachment: The integration of three behavioral systems. In R. J. Sternberg & M. Barnes (Eds.), The psychology of love (pp. 68-99). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Hazan, C., and Shaver, P.R. (1994). Attachment as an organizational framework for research on close relationships. Psychological Inquiry, 5, 1-22.

Simpson, J. A., & Rholes, W. S. (1998). Attachment in adulthood. In J. A. Simpson & W. S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships (pp. 3-21). New York: Guilford. [pages 3 - 12]

Supplemental
Shaver, P. R., & Hazan, C. (1988). A biased overview of the study of love. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 5, 473-501.

Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. R. (1987). Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 511-524.

Week 4
Models of individual differences in attachment organization

Required
Bartholomew, K., & Howrowitz, L. (1991). Attachment styles among young adults: A test of the four-category model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 226-245.

Brennan, K. A., Clark, C. L., & Shaver, P. R. (1998). Self-report measurement of adult romantic attachment: An integrative overview. In J. A. Simpson & W. S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships (pp. 46-76). New York: Guilford Press.

Fraley, R. C., & Shaver, P. R. (2000). Adult romantic attachment: Theoretical developments, emerging controversies, and unanswered questions. Review of General Psychology, 4, 132-154. [read pp. 142-146]

Supplemental
Duck, S. (1994). Attaching meaning to attachment. Psychological Inquiry, 5, 34-38.

Griffin, D. W., & Bartholomew, K. (1994). Models of the self and other: Fundamental dimensions underlying measures of adult attachment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 430-445.

Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. S. (1994). Attachment theory and close relationships. Psychological Inquiry, 5, 38-41.

Peterson, D. R. (1994). Fewer bricks, better buildings. Psychological Inquiry, 5, 56-58.

Basic Processes and Empirical Advances

Week 5
Internal working models and affect regulation

Required

Collins, N., & Read, S. (1994). Cognitive representations of attachment: The structure and function of working models. In K. Bartholomew & D. Perlman (Eds.), Attachment processes in adulthood: Advances in personal relationships (Vol. 5, pp. 53-90). London: Kingsley.

Shaver, P. R., & Mikulincer, M. (2002). Attachment-related psychodynamics. Attachment and Human Development, 4, 133-161.

Supplemental
Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss: Vol. 3: Loss. New York: Basic Books. [pp. 44-74]

Bretherton, I., & Munholland, K. (1999). Internal working models in attachment relationships: A construct revisted. In P. R. Shaver and J. Cassidy (Eds.), Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications (pp. 89-114). New York: Guilford.

Main, M., Kaplan, N., & Cassidy, J. (1985). Security in infancy, childhood, and adulthood: A move to the level of representation. In I. Bretherton & E. Waters (Eds.), Growing points in attachment theory and research, Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50, (1-2, Serial No. 209), 66-104.

Week 6
Attachment and interpersonal processes

Required

Collins, N., & Read, S. (1990). Adult attachment, working models and relationship quality in dating couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 644-663.

Fuller, T.L., & Fincham, F.D. (1995). Attachment style in married couples: Relation to current marital functioning, stability over time, and method of assessment. Personal Relationships, 2, 17-34.

Wieselquist, J., Rusbult, C.E., Foster, C. A., & Agnew, C. (1999). Commitment, pro-relationship behavior, and trust in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 942–966.

Supplemental
Frazier, P. A, Byer, A. L., Fischer, A. R., Wright, D. M., & DeBord, K. A. (1996). Adult attachment style and partner choice: Correlational and experimental findings. Personal Relationships, 3, 117-136.

Murray, S. L., Holmes, J. G., & Griffin, D. W. (2000). Self-esteem and the quest for felt security: How perceived regard regulates attachment processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 478-498.

Week 7
Separation, threat, and loss

Required
Simpson, J. A., Rholes, W. S., & Nelligan, J. S. (1992). Support seeking and support giving within couples in an anxiety-provoking situation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 434-446.

Mikulincer, M., Gillath, O., & Shaver, P. R. (2002). Activation of the attachment system in adulthood: Threat-related primes increase the accessibility of mental representations of attachment figures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 881-895.

Supplemental
Fraley, R. C., & Bonanno, G. A. (2003). Attachment and Loss: A Test of Three Competing Models on the Association between Attachment-Related Avoidance and Adaptation to Bereavement. Manuscript under review.

Fraley, R. C., & Shaver, P. R. (1998). Airport separations: A naturalistic study of adult attachment dynamics in separating couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1198-1212.

Rholes, W. S., Simpson, J. A., & Oriña, M. M. (1999). Attachment and anger in an anxiety-provoking situation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 940-957.

Debates, Controversies, and Extensions

Week 8
The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) tradition and its relation to the social-psychological traidtion

Required
Hesse, E. (1999). The Adult Attachment Interview: Historical and current perspectives. In J. A. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp. 395-433). New York: Guilford Press.

Shaver, P. R., Belsky, J., & Brennan, K. A. (2000). The Adult Attachment Interview and self-reports of romantic attachment: Associations across domains and methods. Personal Relationships, 7, 25-43.

Supplemental
Crowell, J. A., & Treboux, D. (1995). A review of adult attachment measures: Implications for theory and research. Social Development, 4, 294-327.

Simpson, J. S., Rholes, W. S., Oriña, M. M., & Grich, J. (2002). Working models of attachment, support giving, and support seeking in a stressful situation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 598-608.

Waters, E, Crowell, J., Elliott, M., Corcoran, D., & Treboux, D. (2002). Bowlby's secure base theory and the social/personality psychology of attachment styles: Work(s) in progress. 4, 230-242.

Week 9
Are attachment patterns trait-like? Within-person variation and global vs. specific models

Required
Baldwin, M. W., Keelan, J. P. R., Fehr, B., Enns, V., & Koh- Rangarajoo, E. (1996). Social cognitive conceptualization of attachment working models: Availability and accessibility effects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 94-104.

La Guardia, J. G., Ryan, R. M., Couchman, C. E., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Within-person variation in security of attachment: A Self-Determination Theory perspective on attachment, need fulfillment, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 367-384.

Pierce, T. & Lydon, J. (2001). Global and specific relational models in the experience of social interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 613-631.

Supplemental
Davila, J., Burge, D., & Hammen, C. (1997). Why does attachment style change? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 826-838.

Kobak, R. (1994). Adult attachment: A personality or relationship construct? Psychological Inquiry, 5, 42-44.

Lewis, M. (1994). Does attachment imply a relationship or multiple relationships? Psychological Inquiry, 5, 47-51.

Week 10
Do secure children grow up to become secure adults? Stability and change in attachment patterns

Required
Baldwin, M. W., & Fehr, B. (1995). On the instability of attachment style ratings. Personal Relationships, 2, 247-261.

Fraley, R. C. (2002). Attachment stability from infancy to adulthood: Meta-analysis and dynamic modeling of developmental mechanisms. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6, 123-151.

Klohnen, E. C., & Bera, S. J. (1998). Behavioral and experiential patterns of avoidantly and securely attached women across adulthood: A 30-year longitudinal perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 211-223.

Supplemental
Fraley, R. C., & Brumbaugh, C. C. (in press). A dynamical systems approach to understanding stability and change in attachment security. In W. S. Rholes & J. A. Simpson (Eds.), Adult attachment: New directions and emerging issues. New York: Guilford Press.

Lewis, M., Feiring, C., & Rosenthal, S. (2000). Attachment over time. Child Development, 71, 707-720.

Waters, E., Weinfield, N. S., & Hamilton, C. E. (2000) The stability of attachment security from infancy to adolescence and early adulthood: General discussion. Child Development, 71, 703-706.

Week 11
Are individual differences in attachment categorical or continuous? The types vs. dimensions debate [skip this week's readings]

Required
Griffin, D., & Bartholomew, K. (1994). Metaphysics of measurement: The case of adult attachment. In K. Bartholomew & D. Perlman (Eds.), Advances in personal relationships, Vol. 5: Attachment processes in adulthood (pp.17-52). London: Jessica Kingsley.

Fraley, R. C., & Waller, N. G. (1998). Adult attachment patterns: A test of the typological model. In J. A. Simpson & W. S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships (pp. 77-114). New York: Guilford Press.

Fraley, R. C., & Spieker, S. J. (2003). What are the differences between dimensional and categorical models of individual differences in attachment? Reply to Cassidy (2003), Cummings (2003), Sroufe (2003), and Waters and Beauchaine (2003). Developmental Psychology, 39, 423-429.

Supplemental
Fraley, R. C., & Spieker, S. J. (2003). Are infant attachment patterns continuously or categorically distributed? A taxometric analysis of strange situation behavior. Developmental Psychology, 39, 387-404.

Cummings, E. M. (2003). Toward Assessing Attachment on an Emotional Security Continuum: Comment on Fraley and Spieker (2003). Developmental Psychology, 39, 405-408.

Cassidy, J. (2003). Continuity and Change in the Measurement of Infant Attachment: Comment on Fraley and Spieker (2003). Developmental Psychology, 39, 409-412.

Sroufe, L. A. (2003). Attachment Categories as Reflections of Multiple Dimensions: Comment on Fraley and Spieker (2003). Developmental Psychology, 39, 413-416.

Waters, E., & Beauchaine, T. P. (2003). Are There Really Patterns of Attachment? Comment on Fraley and Spieker (2003). Developmental Psychology, 39, 417-422.

Week 12
What is the relationship between attachment and general personality processes and structures?

Required

Zayas, V., Shoda, Y., & Ayduk, O. N. (2002). Personality in context: An interpersonal systems perspective. Journal of Personality, 70, 851-900. [download PDF]

Supplemental
Ainsworth, M. D. S., & Bowlby, J. (1991). An ethological approach to personality development. American Psychologist, 46, 333-341.

Carver, C. S. (1997). Adult attachment and personality: Converging evidence and a new measure. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 865-883.

Vaughn B.E., & Bost K.K. (1999). Attachment and temperament: Redundant, independent, or interacting influences on interpersonal adaptation and personality development? In P. R. Shaver and J. Cassidy (Eds.), Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications (pp. 198-225). New York: Guilford.

Costa P.T. Jr., & McCrae R.R. (1994). Set like plaster? Evidence for the stability of adult personality. In T. Heatherton & J. Weinberger (Eds), Can personality change? (pp. 21-40). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Downey, G.; Feldman, S.I. (1996). Implications of rejection sensitivity for intimate relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 1327-1343.

McAdams, D. P. (1992). The five-factor model in personality: A critical appraisal. Journal of Personality, 60, 329-361.

Myers, L.B., & Vetere, A. (2002) Repressive coping and romantic adult attachment. Personality and Individual Differences, 28,111-121.

Weinberger, D., Schwartz, G., & Davidson, R. (1979). Low anxious, high anxious, and repressive coping styles: Psychometric patterns and behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 88, 369-380.

Week 13
Are dismissing individuals psychologically resilient or fragile?

Required
Fraley, R. C., Davis, K. E., & Shaver, P. R. (1998). Dismissing-avoidance and the defensive organization of emotion, cognition, and behavior. In J. A. Simpson & W. S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships (pp. 249-279). New York: Guilford Press.

Fraley, R. C., & Shaver, P. R. (1999). Loss and bereavement: Attachment theory and recent controversies concerning "grief work" and the nature of detachment. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp. 735-759). New York: Guilford Press. [pp. 735-748]

Onishi, M., Gjerde, P. F., and Block, J. (2001). Personality implications of romantic attachment patterns in young adults: A multi-method, multi-informant study. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 1097-1110.

Supplemental
Dozier, M. & Kobak, R. (1992). Psychophysiology in adolescent attachment interviews: Convergent evidence for deactivating strategies. Child Development, 63, 1473-1480.

Fraley, R. C., & Shaver, P. R. (1997). Adult attachment and the suppression of unwanted thoughts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 1080-1091.

Week 14
Evolution and mating: How do attachment and reproductive motives influence, complement, and complete with one another?

Required
Diamond, L. M. (2003). What does sexual orientation orient? A biobehavioral model distinguishing romantic love and sexual desire. Psychological Review, 110, 173-192.

Kirkpatrick, L. A. (1998). Evolution, pair-bonding, and reproductive strategies: A reconceptualization of adult attachment. In J. A. Simpson & W. S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships (pp. 353-393). New York: Guilford.

Supplemental
Belsky, J. (1999). Modern evolutionary theory and patterns of attachment. In J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment theory and research (pp. 151-173). New York: Guilford.

Chisholm, J. (1996). The evolutionary ecology of attachment organization. Human Nature, 7, 1-37.

Hazan, C., & Diamond, L. M. (2000). The place of attachment in human mating. Review of General Psychology, 4, 186-204.


Hill, E.M., Young, J.P., & Nord, J.L. (1994). Childhood adversity, attachment security, and adult relationships: A preliminary study. Ethology and Sociobiology, 15, 323-338.

Week 15
Implications for clinical theory and treatment

Required

Nakash-Eisikovits, O., Dutra, L., & Westen, D. (2003). The relationship between attachment patterns and personality pathology in adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 41(9), 1111-1123. [pdf]

Sroufe, L. A., Carlson, E. A., Levy, A. K., & Egeland, B. (1999). Implications of attachment theory for developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 11, 1-13. [pdf]

Supplemental
Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss: Vol. 2: Separation. New York: Basic Books.

Allen, J. P., Hauser, S. T., & Borman-Spurrell, E. (1996). Attachment theory as a framework for understanding sequelae of severe adolescent psychopathology: An 11-year follow-up study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64, 254-263.

Carnelley, K. B., Pietromonaco, P.R., & Jaffe, K. (1994). Depression, working models of others, and relationship functioning. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 127-140.