Psy200 Research Methods



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The Effect of Parents Marital Status on Individual Adult Attachment Style

PSY200 - Research Methods

Dr Nazli Balkir

Dhuha AlHamad 20190007612

Abstract

This study’s focus is on how our parent’s relationship affect us and our relationships with others, based on the Four Adult Attachment Styles Theory. The methodology used in the study was an online survey made up of two psychological scales: The Adult Attachment Scale and Brief Symptom Inventory. Results showed that there is a significant correlation within the total results of both scales at (-0.250), concluding that it is a negative correlation. The parent’s marital status did not influence the attachment style. More research should be done that examines how other variables could influence individual attachment style.




Aim of the Study

Research Question

Does the marital status of parents affect an individual’s adult attachment style?

Subquestions

  1. Do individuals with divorced or separated parents display less secure attachment styles in their personal relationships?

  2. Can our relationship with our siblings also influence our attachment style?

Hypothesis

Individuals with divorced or separated parents display more pre-occupied, dismissive and fearful attachment style than secure in their personal relationships.




Results







Results Discussion

Based on the analysis of the results, we can clearly state that there is a significant link between the total results of the AAS and BSI scales, using SPSS to calculate the correlation, it calculated to be at (-.250), which infers a negative correlation between both variables. We can also compare the results of the sociodemographic groups in both scales, where it is possible to study the differences in mean and standard deviation amongst males and females for the BSI, as there is large gap in the total mean, where males scored a total of 145.803, whereas females had a score of 102.000. Similarly in the AAS, another gap is clearly seen in the mean total, where females scored 57.40, whilst males had a mean total of 53.64. Another observation can be seen in the BSI scores of the participants who are an only child, where they had a mean score of 61.667, which is a low score in comparison to those who have siblings, which ranged between 137.231 and 171.333. The results of the AAS have to be better inputted into the SPSS database, to receive better data.




Conclusion

The aim of the study was to explore how our parent’s relationship affects our perception and responses in our own personal relationships. We can state from the results obtained that our attachment styles are not clearly affected by our parent’s relationship, and guided more by other factors, such as gender, birth order and the relationship with siblings. The study requires further research, as the AAS test did not distinctively highlight which attachment styles were more prevalent in the participants. To improve the results, other factors should be included such as age, to discover if our attachment styles could be altered over time in spite of the childhood background.




Introduction

Our interpersonal relationships are highly influenced by our childhood attachment styles which are believed to be shaped by the form of parenting and love that we received as children. This theory was first introduced by the psychoanalyst John Bowldy when he was observing the behavior of infants when separated from their parental figures.

There are four outlined types of attachment that individuals display

  1. The Secure attachment style in individuals is when it is relatively easy for the person to get close and committed to their relationship and significant other. Those with a secure attachment style tend to have a positive view of themselves and their significant other, in which they feel utterly comfortable with being independent or dependent on their significant other.

  2. The Anxious-Preoccupied attachment style in individuals is when they have a constant desire to be in a relationship. However, they posses a fear of being hurt or betrayed in the future, this fear causes them to negatively view themselves, with thoughts of being unworthy of love or not being good enough for their significant other.

  3. The Dismissive-Avoidant attachment style in individuals is when one views themselves as self-sufficient and independent which drives them to have a negative perception of others. They are inclined to dismiss their need for close intimate relationships, and tends to deal with their feelings by suppressing and hiding them from others.

  4. The Fearful-Avoidant attachment style is when an individual has a constant craving for affection and intimacy from their loved ones, but when they sense that the relationship has developed into something serious and requires commitment, they tend to push their loved one away or end the relationship.






Methodolgy

Research was conducted through an online survey consistent of sociodemographic questions and two instrumental psychological scales: The Adult Attachment Scale and The Brief Symptom Inventory. Sociodemographic questions were focused on gender, age, parent’s marital status, number of siblings and the relationship between the siblings, as they allows us to examine other influential factors.

The Adult Attachment Scale developed by (Collins,1996) is an updated version of the initial scale. It is used to find the attachment style based on 18 questions that ask the participants to reflect on their romantic and close relationships and to select a number on a 5 point scale on how characteristic or uncharacteristic it is of them to feel that way in those relationship. The data was collected and inputted into SPSS to generate which attachment style is more common and least common amongst the four. The results of the AAS were linked to the sociodemographic information to find if any distant correlation could be made.

The Brief Symptom Inventory Scale (Derogatis, 1975) is used to identify psychological symptoms in adults that are clinically relevant to cover nine symptom dimensions of psychological disorders. It also considers three global indices of distress, that are prevalent in our everyday lives. The scale requires the participant to examine how much 53 listed symptoms have “distressed or bothered them during the last 7 days”. They are given a 5 point scale to select an answer that best suit them, or they could choose not to answer at all. The total score of each participant helps in uncovering other possible psychological factors that influence our attachment style.

Furthermore, the BSI was added to this study as comparing the total results of it with those of the Adult Attachment Scale would allow us to conclude if there is a correlation between both scales.





References

Our interpersonal relationships are Levy, Kenneth & Blatt, Sidney & Shaver, Phillip. (1998). Attachment style and parental representations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 74. 407-419. 10.1037/0022-3514.74.2.407.
Simpson, J. A., & Steven Rholes, W. (2017). Adult Attachment, Stress, and Romantic Relationships. Current opinion in psychology, 13, 19–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.04.006
Chris Fraley, R., 2020. A Brief Overview Of Adult Attachment Theory And Research. [online] labs.psychology.illinois.edu. Available at:
Adult Attachment Scale (Collins, 1996 ) - Collins, N. L., & Read, S. J. (1990). Adult attachment, working models, and relationship quality in dating couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(4), 644-663.
Derogatis, L. R. (1975). Brief Symptom Inventory. Baltimore, MD: Clinical Psychometric Research.







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