Attachment Styles and Parental Representations

Kenneth N. Levy, Sidney J. Blatt, Phillip R. Shaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


Relationships between attachment styles and the content and structure of mental representations of parents were investigated. Undergraduates completed 3- and 4-category measures of attachment style and wrote descriptions of their parents. Securely attached participants' parental representations were characterized by differentiation, elaboration, benevolence, and nonpunitiveness. Representations by dismissing participants were characterized by less differentiation and more punitiveness and malevolence. Fearful participants also described their parents as relatively punitive and malevolent, but their representations were well differentiated and conceptually complex. Anxious-ambivalent participants described their parents ambivalently as both punitive and benevolent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-419
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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