Adult Attachment

Adult Attachment

A Concise Introduction to Theory and Research

1st Edition - March 22, 2016

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  • Authors: Omri Gillath, Gery Karantzas, R. Chris Fraley
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124200760
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124200203

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Adult Attachment: A Concise Introduction to Theory and Research is an easy-to-read and highly accessible reference on attachment that deals with many of the key concepts and topics studied within attachment theory. This book is comprised of a series of chapters framed by common questions that are typically asked by novices entering the field of attachment. The content of each chapter focuses on answering this overarching question. Topics on the development of attachment are covered from different levels of analysis, including species, individual, and relationship levels, working models of attachment, attachment functions and hierarchies, attachment stability and change over time and across situations, relationship contexts, the cognitive underpinnings of attachment and its activation of enhancement via priming, the interplay between the attachment behavioral system and other behavioral systems, the effects of context on attachment, the contribution of physiology/neurology and genetics to attachment, the associations/differences between attachment and temperament, the conceptualization and measurement of attachment, and the association between attachment and psychopathology/therapy. TEDx talk: The Power of (Secure) Love by Omri Gillath:

Key Features

  • Uses a question-and-answer format to address the most important topics within attachment theory
  • Presents information in a simple, easy-to-understand way to ensure accessibility for novices in the field of attachment
  • Covers the main concepts and issues that relate to attachment theory, thus ensuring readers develop a strong foundation in attachment theory that they can then apply to the study of relationships
  • Addresses future directions in the field of attachment theory
  • Concisely covers material, ensuring scholars and professionals can quickly get up-to-speed with the most recent research


Students embarking on research into attachment, academics interested in close relationships from disciplines such as psychology, communication studies, and sociology, and clinicians who want to use attachment theory as a framework for therapy

Table of Contents

    • Dedications
    • Prologue
    • Chapter 1: What Is Attachment Theory?
      • Abstract
      • Attachment theory
      • What are attachment theory's intellectual origins? The integration of psychoanalytic psychology, ethology, and control systems
      • Is attachment theory a “grand theory”? How does it differ from other perspectives?
    • Chapter 2: What Is an Attachment Relationship?
      • Abstract
      • How do attachment relationships develop in infancy?
      • How are attachment-related functions transferred from one person to another?
      • Can people have more than one attachment figure?
      • What kinds of factors facilitate the development of an adult attachment relationship?
      • What happens to parents when new attachment relationships develop? Do they share the stage with new attachment figures? Or are they supplanted?
      • What happens when a relationship ends? Falling off the ladder and continuing bonds
      • Are attachment relationships limited to parents and peers? What other kinds of attachment relationships may exist?
      • Why did attachment bonds evolve in adult romantic relationships?
      • A few cautionary remarks
    • Chapter 3: How Do Individual Differences in Attachment Develop?
      • Abstract
      • How do early attachment experiences shape attachment patterns in infancy and early childhood?
      • What are the consequences of early attachment experiences for social and personality development?
      • Do early attachment experiences have enduring consequences for social and personality development?
      • What gives rise to individual differences in adult attachment patterns?
      • Summary
    • Chapter 4: What Are Attachment Working Models?
      • Abstract
      • What are attachment internal working models?
      • Chapter summary
    • Chapter 5: How Are Individual Differences in Attachment Measured?
      • Abstract
      • How has the measurement of adult attachment evolved over the decades?
      • Where is security in the two-dimensional framework?
      • How Should the Attachment Dimensions be Used in Research?
      • Should Interactions Between the Dimensions Be Tested? Are They Necessary?
      • Are There More Than Two Dimensions?
      • Are the Dimensions Orthogonal? Or Are They Correlated With One Another?
      • Are Self-Reports and Interviews Interchangeable With One Another?
      • What are some of the recommended self-report measures of attachment?
    • Chapter 6: How Stable Are Attachment Styles in Adulthood?
      • Abstract
      • What did Bowlby say about stability and change? Metaphors for dynamic processes
      • What leads to stability in adult attachment styles?
      • What leads to change in adult attachment styles?
      • How stable are attachment styles in adulthood?
      • Do adult attachment styles change across the lifespan? Normative shifts in attachment
      • Summary and future research directions
    • Chapter 7: What Can Social Cognition and Priming Tell Us About Attachment?
      • Abstract
      • Priming in close relationships
      • What’s being primed? Attachment-related schemas
      • How do you alter people’s sense of security in the short term in the laboratory?
      • Do priming effects last? The long-term effects of security priming
      • What is the relationship between attachment priming and attachment style?
      • Can we trust attachment priming effects? Using meta-analysis
      • What physiological/neural mechanisms underlie security priming?
      • Concluding remarks
    • Chapter 8: What Is the Attachment Behavioral System? And, How Is It Linked to Other Behavioral Systems?
      • Abstract
      • What is a behavioral system?
      • What are the features of a behavioral system?
      • How can we examine the concept of a behavioral system?
      • What happens when one behavioral system “meets” another?
      • What can development teach us about the interplay between behavioral systems?
      • How do the levels of one behavioral system affect other systems?
      • What is the caregiving system?
      • What happens when both systems are activated?
      • What empirical evidence exists for the interplay between the caregiving and attachment systems?
      • What happens when security is enhanced?
      • What about sex?
      • Are there other behavioral systems and if so, what about their interplay?
      • Implications and conclusions
    • Chapter 9: What Are the Effects of Context on Attachment?
      • Abstract
      • Are there sex differences in adult attachment?
      • Are there cultural differences in adult attachment?
      • Are there age differences in adult attachment?
      • What is the role of relationship status and relationship length in adult attachment?
      • How do individual differences in attachment manifest in different relationship stages?
      • Chapter summary
    • Chapter 10: What Can Neuroscience, Genetics, and Physiology Tell Us About Attachment?
      • Abstract
      • What is neuroscience?
      • Why neuroscience?
      • Neuroscience in the service of attachment
      • What are the tools, methods, and techniques used to study the neuroscience of attachment?
      • What has already been done? Examples of attachment neuroscience
      • Genes, neurotransmitters, and hormones
      • Theoretical models
      • Summary and future directions
    • Chapter 11: What are the Implications of Attachment Processes for Psychopathology and Therapy?
      • Abstract
      • Is attachment insecurity a risk factor for mental health problems?
      • What are the factors linking adult attachment to mental health problems?
      • Can knowledge about attachment insecurity and mental health be used to facilitate therapy?
      • How can attachment theory inform us about the kind of difficulties insecure people may have in relation to therapy?
      • How can attachment theory inform us about dealing with avoidantly attached clients?
      • How can attachment theory inform us about dealing with anxiously attached clients?
      • Can therapy help insecure clients?
      • How can attachment theory inform the development of therapeutic interventions?
      • Chapter summary
    • Epilogue
    • References
    • Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 346
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2016
  • Published: March 22, 2016
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124200760
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780124200203

About the Authors

Omri Gillath

Omri Gillath, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center at the University of Kansas. His work focuses on human pair-bonding and the effects of personality on cognition and behavior. He uses diverse methodologies including neuroimaging, gene mapping, and advanced cognitive techniques to explore the associations between attachment style and cognitive performance, sexual motivation and behavior, mating strategies, and caregiving behavior. He has published extensively on the topic of interpersonal relationships and relationship neuroscience in leading academic journals (e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience), and has given invited lectures at national and international conferences on these topics. Dr. Gillath is an associate editor of Personal Relationships, a member of the editorial board of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and Journal of Research in Personality, and a fellow of the Society for Experimental Psychology. Dr. Gillath won the 2012 IARR Gerald R. Miller Award for Early Career Achievement, the 2011 Caryl Rusbult Close Relationships Early Career Award, the Sage 2010 Young Scholar Award, and the J. Michael Young academic advisor award at the University of Kansas.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA

Gery Karantzas

Gery C. Karantzas is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Deakin University. He is currently the convenor of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Psychology of Relationships Interest Group. He has published numerous studies in the area of close personal relationships with a specific interest in investigating couple and family relationships during transitions and in adult attachment. He received his PhD from La Trobe University in 2008. His research activities have been funded by grants from the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Research Medical Council, the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, the Office of Learning and Teaching, and beyondblue. He is the recipient of numerous university and national awards for his research and teaching into the science of relationships including the 2010 Australian Psychological Society Early Career Teaching Award and the 2011 Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for Distinguished Teaching.

Affiliations and Expertise

School of Psychology, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia

R. Chris Fraley

R. Chris Fraley is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his PhD from the University of California, Davis in 1999 in Social-Personality Psychology. In 2007 he received the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of Individual Differences. Fraley's research involves the study of attachment processes in close relationships, personality dynamics and development, and research methods. He is also broadly interested in issues at the interface of social cognition, development, evolution, and psychodynamics.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, USA

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  • JanRegehr Sat Dec 28 2019

    Adult Attachment

    Great book, relevant, practical, and most recent research studies on the topic.