Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 235
Personality/attachment style/social psychology/Shaver: Working from a personality and social psychological perspective, Hazan and Shaver (1987(1), 1990(2)) developed a self-report measure of adult attachment style suitable for use in experiments and surveys.
In its original form, the measure consisted of three brief descriptions of feelings and behaviours in close relationships that were intended to characterize adult romantic analogues of the three infant attachment styles identified by Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters and Wall (1978).

Secure: I find it relatively easy to get close to others and am comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don’t worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me.

Avoidant: I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others; I find it difficult to trust them completely, difficult to allow myself to depend on them. I am nervous when anyone gets too close and often, others want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being.

Anxious: I find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I often worry that my partner doesn’t really love me or won’t want to stay with me. I want to get very close to my partner and this sometimes scares people away.

Over time, attachment researchers largely agreed that attachment styles are best conceptualized as regions in a two-dimensional (anxiety-by-avoidance) space (e.g., Brennan, Clark and Shaver 1998(4); Fraley and Waller 1998(5)). These two dimensions are consistently obtained in factor analyses of attachment measures (e.g., Brennan, Clark and Shaver 1998(4)).
Corr I 236
The two attachment-style dimensions, which are considered to be the two major kinds of attachment insecurity, can be measured with the thirty-six-item Experiences in Close Relationships inventory (ECR) (Brennan, Clark and Shaver 1998)(6), which is reliable in both the internal-consistency and test-retest senses and has high construct, predictive and discriminant validity (Crowell, Fraley and Shaver 1999(7); Mikulincer and Shaver 2007)(8).


1. Hazan, C. and Shaver, P. R. 1987. Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52: 511–24
2. Hazan, C. and Shaver, P. R. 1990. Love and work: an attachment-theoretical perspective, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 59: 270–80
3. Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E. and Wall, S. 1978. Patterns of attachment: assessed in the Strange Situation and at home. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum
4. Brennan, K. A., Clark, C. L. and Shaver, P. R. 1998. Self-report measurement of adult romantic attachment: an integrative overview, in J. A. Simpson and W. S. Rholes (eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships, pp. 46–76. New York: Guilford Press
5. Fraley, R. C. and Waller, N. G. 1998. Adult attachment patterns: a test of the typological model, in J. A. Simpson and W. S. Rholes (eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships, pp. 77–114. New York: Guilford Press
6. Brennan, K. A., Clark, C. L. and Shaver, P. R. 1998. Self-report measurement of adult romantic attachment: an integrative overview, in J. A. Simpson and W. S. Rholes (eds.), Attachment theory and close relationships, pp. 46–76. New York: Guilford Press
7. Crowell, J. A., Fraley, R. C. and Shaver, P. R. 1999. Measurement of adult attachment, in J. Cassidy and P. R. Shaver (eds.), Handbook of attachment: theory, research, and clinical applications, pp. 434–65. New York: Guilford Press
8. Mikulincer, M. and Shaver, P. R. 2007. Attachment in adulthood: structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Press


Phillip R. Shaver and Mario Mikulincer, “Attachment theory: I. Motivational, individual-differences and structural aspects”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Shaver, Phillip R.
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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