Attachment relationships as predictors of cognitive interpretation and response bias in late adolescence.
We investigated behavioural and cognitive representations of attachment style. Specifically, we sought to test continuity in attachment style and whether participants' perceptions of their attachments to parents, peers, and romantic partners would predict cognitive interpretation and responses to 12 ambiguous situation scenarios. Participants were 161 undergraduate students (17-20 years) who completed the Parental Bonding Instrument, the Attachment Style Questionnaire and the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (peer subscale). Participants then indicated whether they interpreted ambiguous situations as threatening versus non-threatening and how they would respond (proactively, aggressively, or avoidantly). Regression analyses revealed that insecure parental attachments were the main predictor of participants' interpretations and their planned responses, followed by romantic attachments. Peer attachments played little role in the predictions. These results suggest that interpretation of situations and subsequent plans of action may be influenced by attachment related experiences. We discuss our findings in terms of their relevance to attachment theory and their application to our understanding of the concepts of attachment in development of interpersonal relationships.
Journal of Child and Family Studies