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First published online March 26, 2010

Invariance of adult attachment across gender, age, culture, and socioeconomic status?

Abstract

Is attachment in adulthood associated with gender, age, culture, or socioeconomic context? There is a widely held belief that males and younger individuals exhibit a more avoidant or dismissive stance toward attachment experiences, as would subjects from individualized, Western societies and from poorer socio-economic environments. Distributions of Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) classifications in various gender, cultural, socioeconomic, and age groups were compared with the normative distribution of North American non-clinical Caucasian mothers (23% dismissing, 58% secure, 19% preoccupied) through analysis of correspondence. Indeed, adolescent and student samples contained a higher proportion of dismissing attachment classifications than the normative group. No gender differences were found in the use of dismissing versus preoccupied attachment strategies in relatively affluent social environments, and the AAI distributions were largely independent of language and country of origin. Most strikingly, low SES adolescent mothers showed the strongest over-representation of dismissing attachments, which supports the life history theory prediction that in harsh environments individuals adopt a quantity-oriented reproductive strategy in tandem with a dismissing view of attachment.

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Published In

Article first published online: March 26, 2010
Issue published: March 2010

Keywords

  1. attachment
  2. evolution
  3. gender
  4. intercultural/inter-racial
  5. language
  6. love
  7. meta analysis

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© The Author(s), 2010.
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History

Issue published: March 2010
Published online: March 26, 2010

Authors

Affiliations

Marinus H. van IJzendoorn
Leiden University, The Netherlands, [email protected]
Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg
Leiden University, The Netherlands

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