Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1973, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1988) has been extremely successful in stimulating research on the formation, maintenance, and quality of affectional bonds across the lifespan (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007). In this lecture, we focus on how attachment-related processes are involved in a person’s relational motives, cognitions, emotions, and behaviors in close relationships, and on how such processes affect the dynamics and quality of a person’s relationships. We begin by presenting a theoretical model of the activation and psychodynamics of the attachment behavioral system in adulthood (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007).
The model explains the intrapsychic and interpersonal manifestations of the sense of attachment security, and of two insecurity-based regulatory strategies: hyperactivation and deactivation. Next, we show how individual differences in attachment-related feelings and defenses affect a person’s wishes, goals, and actions in close relationships in close relationships. We also review individual-difference studies showing how attachment orientations affect relationship quality, patterns of dyadic communication and interactions, and responses to relationship difficulties, conflicts, and breakups.
Goals of this first talk: