Adult attachment and perceptions of closeness

Nathan W. Hudson, R. Chris Fraley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An online sample of more than 150,000 participants was used to examine whether—in addition to predicting how much intimacy people want—attachment styles also predict how people define and perceive intimacy. Results indicated that, as compared with relatively secure individuals, people with high levels of attachment anxiety required more time, affection, and self-disclosure to construe a relationship as “close.” Additionally, anxious individuals perceived less intimacy in relationship vignettes than did their less anxious peers. In contrast, highly avoidant individuals required less time, affection, and self-disclosure to define a relationship as “close,” and they perceived more intimacy in vignettes than did their more secure peers. These findings indicate that people who are relatively anxious not only want more intimacy in their relationships, but they are also less likely to perceive intimacy, as compared with their less anxious peers. Conversely, people high in avoidance not only want less intimacy, but they are also more sensitive to its presence, as compared with their less avoidant peers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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