One of the core assumptions of attachment theory is that attachment representations are stable over time. Unfortunately, the data on attachment stability have been ambiguous, and as a result, alternative theoretical perspectives have evolved to explain them. The objective of the present research was to evaluate alternative models of stability by studying adults in 2 intensive longitudinal investigations. Specifically, we assessed attachment representations in 1 sample (N = 203) daily over a 30-day period and in the other sample (N = 388) weekly over a year. Analyses show that the patterns of stability that exist in adult attachment are most consistent with a prototype model-a model assuming that there is a stable factor underlying temporary variations in attachment. Moreover, although the Big Five personality traits exhibited a pattern of stability that was similar to that of attachment, they did not account for the stability observed in attachment.
- Attachment styles
- Trait-state models
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science