Age differences in attachment orientations among younger and older adults: evidence from two self-report measures of attachment.
The attachment patterns of younger and older adults were studied using two-dimensional self-report measures of adult attachment. Community-dwelling younger (n = 144, M = 22.5 years, SD = 3.6) and older (n = 106, M = 68.6 years, SD = 8.3) adults completed the Measure of Attachment Qualities (MAQ; Carver, 1997) and the Relationship Style Questionnaire (RSQ; Griffin & Bartholomew, 1994). Although the MAQ and RSQ are believed to be measuring similar constructs, they are derived from different theoretical perspectives. Correlations between the two measures were in the expected directions proving modest evidence for their convergent validity. Regarding cross-sectional results, as was expected, older adults scored lower than younger adults on the ambivalent-worry attachment scale of the MAQ and the preoccupied attachment scale of the RSQ. There were no age differences regarding secure, avoidant, and dismissing attachment. It appears that older adults experience anxious types of attachment less frequently than younger adults. Although these results primarily speak to age differences and possible cohort effects, they also provide some support for socioemotional selectivity theory and its hypothesized improved relationships in later life.
Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7150, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org,
Aged, 80 and over
Attitude to Health
Quality of Life
Surveys and Questionnaires
Pub Type(s)Comparative Study