The Effects of Attachment Heterogeneity and Team Cohesion on Team Functioning

Shiri Lavy, Yariv Bareli, Tsachi Ein-Dor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Attachment research to date has focused mostly on individuals and dyads and has demonstrated the disadvantages of attachment insecurities. The present study focuses on the potential positive effects of team-level heterogeneity of attachment orientations on team functioning (suggested by social defense theory) and examines the role of team cohesion in facilitating these effects. Students enrolled in courses that included a team project (N = 178 students comprising 52 teams) completed measures of attachment anxiety and avoidance, team cohesion, and team functioning. Their team performance evaluations were also assessed. Regression analyses revealed that when team cohesion was high, team heterogeneity in anxiety and avoidance scores was associated with better performance evaluations, and team heterogeneity in anxiety was also associated with better perceived functioning. Results highlight potential contributions of insecure team members to project teams’ functioning, which were heretofore overlooked in the literature, and suggest benefits of teams with heterogeneity in attachment orientations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-49
Number of pages23
JournalSmall Group Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 14 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2014.


  • attachment
  • cohesion
  • heterogeneity
  • team functioning
  • teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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