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Adult Attachment

attachment related drawings, much like the Thematic Apperception Test for personality. The attachment styles mirror the AAI.  

The second category of measures discussed stem from the social cognition tradition of psychology. A major difference between the AAI and the tests that come from the social tradition is that the social measures see attachment as an interpersonal process. The social psychologists look at attachment based on current relationships, and see attachment as a dynamic situation. It is thought that the focus of attachment shifts from a primary caregiver to a romantic partner later in life, therefore a person’s working model for relationships changes as well. Four major scales have been developed in this tradition.

Hazan and Shaver developed the first social measure. It is a forced-choice scale where participants are asked to rate themselves as one of the attachment styles. A later revision added a Likert scale to allow for the possibility of more than one style being present in any individual. It is a quick and easy test to administer and gives insight into a categorical nature of attachment.

The second social measure is an adaptation of Hazan and Shaver’s questionnaire. Simpson used their questionnaire and created 13 statements about how the participant feels about romantic relationships in general. It uses a dimensional construct that rates the participant on two scales: avoidant and anxious. This construct treats attachment as being on a continuum and may give a clearer view of attachment style. A dimensional rather than categorical approach also allows for easier comparison between individuals.

Hazan and Shaver and Simpson both used Ainsworth et. al.’s (1978) original three infant attachment styles: secure, avoidant, anxious/ambivalent. A secure individual

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