Adult attachment styles and mothers' relationships with their young children

WILLIAM S. RHOLES, JEFFRY A. SIMPSON, BARBARA S. BLAKELY

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research examined the relationship between adult attachment styles and mothers' feelings of closeness to their children, mothers' interaction styles in a teaching situation, individual differences in the desire to have children, and the concerns individuals have about their ability to relate to young children as parents. Investigation 1 revealed that more avoidant mothers did not feel as close to their preschool children as did more secure mothers, and they behaved less supportively toward their children during a laboratory teaching task. Anxious‐ambivalence was also associated with feelings of less closeness, but the level of closeness achieved depended on marital quality. Investigation 2 showed that more avoidant college men and women, compared to secure ones, were more uncertain about their capacity to relate to young children and about whether they wanted to have children. Highly ambivalent men and women reported being more uncertain about their capacity to function well as parents, but ambivalence was not related to the strength of the desire to have children. These findings are discussed in the context of attachment theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-54
Number of pages20
JournalPersonal Relationships
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1995

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