This report was designed to clarify links among self-reports of psychiatric symptomatology, stress, and adult attachment insecurity, as operationalized using measures drawn from both the developmental and social psychological literatures. Based on a sample of 160 college students, this study demonstrated that insecurity reflected in the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) was associated with self-reports of psychiatric symptomatology principally for individuals experiencing high levels of life stress (consistent with a diathesis-stress model) whereas self-reports of attachment-related avoidance and anxiety correlated robustly with psychopathology under conditions of both relatively high and low life stress (consistent with a risk model). Results provide further evidence that social psychological and developmental approaches to the assessment of adult attachment-related variation are associated with domains of adaptation central to Bowlby's account of human development in empirically distinct ways.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was sponsored by a grant from the Research Board at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an NIMH National Research Service Award (MH19893-04) to the second author, as well as Undergraduate Research Opportunity grants from the University of Minnesota to Debra Huang and Cindy Liu. The authors gratefully acknowledge this financial support. This article was based on a Masters thesis completed by the first author in the Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Adult Attachment Interview
- Adult attachment security
- Life stress
- Relationship Scales Questionnaire