Gender Differences in the Association between Attachment Style and Adulthood Relationship Satisfaction

John Barry (
Martin Seager (
Belinda Brown (


In general, the quality of the caregiver-child attachment formed in early childhood will influence the quality of relationships in adulthood. Our survey of 217 adults aimed to assess to what extent relationship satisfaction in adults is accounted for by attachment style. After controlling for demographic variables, we found that an increase in attachment problems predicted a reduction in adulthood relationship satisfaction. The effect of attachment on adulthood relationships was stronger in women than men for avoidant attachment (β = -5.67, p < .00000005, and β = -4.60, p <.001 respectively), and weaker for women than men for anxious attachment (β = -2.21, p < .05, and β = -4.33, p <.01 respectively). Implications for child rearing and adult therapy are discussed.

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