Self-Report Measures of Adult Attachment
The RQ can either be worded in terms of general orientations to to rate others' attachment patterns (See Bartholomew & Horowitz, or. This section provides a brief introduction to the Relationship Questionnaire (RQ; Bartholomew & Horowitz, ) and the Relationship Scales Questionnaire. 40 items In this article, a revision of the Relationship Scales Questionnaire (RSQ) is introduced. The new 4-category The RQ (Bartholomew & Horowitz, ).
After first controlling for demographic risk factors and for other insecure adult attachment styles, mother's profound-distrust was associated with three independent assessments of the quality of maternal interactions with the infant assessed 20 years earlier.
In particular, profound-distrust was related to more hostile, intrusive, and negative behaviors toward the infant. The results are discussed within the framework of attachment theory. I think it's a mistake to trust other people. Could an explicitly held relational attitude such as the aforementioned one indicate that a mother might have relational problems with her infant? A growing amount of evidence links early parent—infant interaction problems to later poor socioemotional outcomes e.
One clinical priority is to develop a prenatal assessment suggestive of future relational problems with the infant. Bowlby postulated that human beings, like all primates, are under pressures of natural selection to evolve behavioral patterns such as proximity seeking, smiling, and clinging, which evoke caretaking behaviors in adults such as touching, holding, and soothing.
These reciprocal behaviors are viewed as promoting the development of an enduring affective tie between infant and caregiver, which constitutes attachment. When the safety of the child is threatened, activation of the attachment system naturally occurs, and attachment behaviors such as crying and clinging can be observed in the child Bowlby, Though the attachment system can be understood to be continuously active in an infant Main,experiences of illness, hurt, fear, and sadness are particularly likely to elicit attachment behaviors.
Moreover, from these reciprocal patterns of interaction between parent and child, Bowlby viewed the infant as developing internal representations of the self and of others that function as partial templates for later relationships.
When a consistent, responsive, and caring relationship evolves between child and caregiver, Bowlby felt that the child would develop an inner sense of safety, security, and trust—a secure attachment.
A secure attachment relationship should hence engender a positive, coherent, and consistent self-image and a sense of being worthy of love combined with a positive expectation that significant others will be generally accepting and responsive. However, not all interaction patterns between mothers and infants lead to attachment security. Over time, less than optimal responses by a caregiver to the child's attachment behaviors may lead the child to develop alternative, less flexible, and coherent strategies for how best to maintain feelings of safety and security when interacting with the caregiver—so-called organized but insecure attachment strategies.
Two such insecure but organized strategies have been identified: A child using an avoidant strategy turns attention away from the need for comfort from the caregiver, presumably to preemptively avoid the experience of rejection from the mother's discomfort with close contact at vulnerable moments. Some infants, however, fail to develop either a secure attachment to a caregiver or an organized but insecure strategy to deal with lack of security.
In the absence of specific pressures toward change, attachment patterns are thought to persist over the life span and guide expectations and beliefs regarding past, present, and future interactions in relationships. They also are thought to influence how individuals attend to, interpret, and remember interpersonal events and to trigger both affective and behavioral responses to new interpersonal situations and relationships. The AAI George et al.
The interview poses a series of questions probing how the individual thinks about his or her childhood relationships with parents or central attachment figures; however, this interview takes approximately 1 hr to conduct and requires costly transcribing and time-consuming coding, which renders it less useful as a widely used assessment for mothers at risk. In a parallel series of developments in the field of social psychology, researchers applied Bowlby's theory of attachment to the romantic relationships between adults.
Hazan and Shaver asked a sample of college students to pick one of three paragraphs that best represented how they viewed their own relationship experiences.
The three paragraphs were conceptually linked to the original childhood attachment patterns: Attachment security was defined as a positive self-image and a sense of being worthy of love, combined with a positive expectation that others will be generally accepting and responsive in times of need. Preoccupation anxious-ambivalence was defined as a negative self-image and a sense of unlovability, combined with a positive evaluation of others in terms of their strength and independence.
Two avoidant strategies were defined: Subsequently, numerous researchers in the social psychology tradition argued for the advantage of using dimensional analysis rather than prototype measures when assessing adult attachment. Five statements contribute to the secure and dismissing attachment patterns and four statements contribute to the fearful and preoccupied attachment patterns.
Scores for each attachment pattern are derived by taking the mean of the four or five items representing each attachment prototype.
Additionally, the three dimensions used by Collins and Read can also be obtained. Alternatively, and perhaps preferably, you can use the questionnaire to derive scales of the underlying two dimensions of anxiety and avoidance see below. Like the RQ, the RSQ can be worded in terms of general orientations to close relationships, orientations to romantic relationships, or orientations to a specific adult, peer relationship.
The RSQ is designed as a continuous measure of adult attachment. If, however, it is absolutely necessary for you to classify participants into attachment patterns, you must use standard scores.The Challenges of Anxious-Avoidant Relationships
First, you would create the four subscales by computing the mean rating of the items for each subscale. Then you would transform those mean ratings into standard scores. This is a far from ideal use of the RSQ and should be undertaken only as a last resort! Thus, researchers are able to relate the RSQ to alternate self-report measures of adult attachment. This can be done in at least three ways: We recommend the third approach.
First, attachment ratings on both the RQ and the RSQ need to be converted into standard scores z-scores. For example, the now standardized RQ secure scores are combined with the now standardized RSQ secure scores to form a single, composite measure of secure attachment. Apply the same procedure to the remaining attachment pattern ratings. These composite scores can be used in all subsequent analyses.
For an example of this procedure see: Adult attachment styles, perceived social support and coping strategies.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Vol. The case of adult attachment. Attachment processes in adulthood pp.
Models of the self and other: Fundamental dimensions underlying measures of adult attachment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67 3 On being insecure about the assessment of attachment styles.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 19 6— The following book contains a comprehensive overview of research in adult attachment: