Family structures as predictors of attachment security: The relationship between parental attachment security and romantic attachment security in stepfamilies and intact families
Previous research on attachment security and family structures has found individual support for the relationship between family structures and parental attachment security as well as for the relationship between family structures and romantic attachment security. However, there has been a lack of research connecting past parental attachment security to adult romantic attachment security in family structures, and specifically, in stepfamilies. This study aimed to bridge this gap in the literature by examining the relationships between parental and romantic attachment security in stepfamily structures and intact family structures. A Structural Equation Modeling analysis of 433 participants (205 from stepfamilies and 228 from intact families) revealed that family structure indirectly predicts romantic attachment security through parental attachment security. More specifically, the results showed that stepfamily structures predict more romantic attachment insecurity through parental attachment insecurity, whereas intact family structures predict more romantic attachment security thorough parental attachment security. Additionally, support was found for the direct effect of interparental conflict on parental attachment security as well as for the indirect effect of interparental conflict on romantic attachment security. These findings may help clinicians to be able to guide stepfamily parents to provide the positive early care giving experiences seen in intact families that will later allow for stepfamily children to have more stable and secure romantic relationships.
Nalbone, Purdue University.
Social psychology|Social studies education|Developmental psychology|Individual & family studies
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