Walking a security tightrope: relationship-induced changes in attachment security.


Purdue University, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


Little is known about how romantic relationships enhance long-term attachment security. Change is likely to involve revising deep-seated beliefs and expectations regarding one's self as being unworthy and others as untrustworthy (insecure internal working models). When individuals become anxious, partners can provide immediate reassurance, but the path to long-term security may hinge on addressing the individual's insecure self-perceptions; when individuals become avoidant, partners can 'soften' interactions that involve relational give-and-take, but long-term security may hinge on instilling positive associations with interdependence and trust. As described in the Attachment Security Enhancement Model (ASEM), relationships can afford optimal interactions that involve two processes working in tandem: mitigating momentary insecurity, and fostering secure working models over the long-term.

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