Submitted by Deborah Rodriguez, Department of Psychology, Middlesex University, London, UK.
Key words: attachment theory, parenthood.
Attachment theory pays particular attention to individual differences and how these can have an impact upon people’s relational style. Typically, a partner or a close friend serves as an attachment figure in adulthood. Broadly, secure adult relationships are characterised by the capacity to relate to others in a mutual and reciprocal manner, and the ability to sustain the continuity of relationships. Insecurely attached adults may be anxious-ambivalent, and this attachment style is characterised by preoccupying thoughts of obtaining and retaining access to their attachment figure, are likely to focus on negative emotions and seek more support than partners are able or willing to provide. Insecurely attached adults may also be anxious-avoidant, and this attachment style is characterised by the suppressing of attachment–related thoughts, and even when stressed, they are likely to use coping strategies that involve distancing rather than seeking support from partners (Lopez and Brennan, 2000).