The impact of attachment style on coping strategies, identity development and the perception of social support
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis describes the relationship between adult attachment style, coping strategies, identity development and perception of social support. 107 participants answered four self-report questionnaires examining their attachment style, coping strategies, identity development status and perception of social support. Correlation analyses were used. Results showed secure attachment to significantly positively correlate with identity moratorium and to negatively correlate with identity foreclosure. Avoidant attachment significantly positively correlated with denial and mental disengagement and negatively correlated with seeking social support. Individuals with high avoidant attachment scores were more likely to have high scores for identity diffusion, more likely to perceive fewer available social supports and were less likely to be satisfied with this support. Anxious ambivalence positively correlated with denial and mental, behavioural and alcohol/drug disengagement, and negatively correlated with active and planning which are pro-active coping strategies. Anxious ambivalence positively correlated with identity diffusion and negatively with identity foreclosure. Individuals with high anxious ambivalence scores were more likely to be dissatisfied with social support. Overall, secure attachment was found to correlate with acknowledging the need for an identity search. Insecure attachment was found to relate to less effective coping methods, to correlate with not acknowledging the need for an identity search and dissatisfaction with social support. Results are considered in terms of attachment styles and applications, for example in therapeutic settings.