The freedom to choose secure attachment relationships in adulthood

Einat Keren, Ofra Mayseless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was based on the attachment-security hypothesis (H. Latty-Mann & K. E. Davis, 1996) that predicts that all individuals, regardless of attachment style, should demonstrate a preference for secure partners who are most likely to offer attachment security. It was therefore expected that with the transfer of attachment functions from parents, who are mostly not freely chosen as attachment figures, to other figures outside of the family of origin, individuals will try to establish secure relationships with these new figures and to assign them a high position in the attachment hierarchy. Participants were 149 Israelis (97 women and 52 men 20-72 years of age) and they completed questionnaires related to their attachment relationships and network. As expected, with age the attachment hierarchy included a higher proportion of chosen figures (r =.38, p <.05), and relationships with chosen figures were characterized by higher security and lower insecurity compared to relationships with nonchosen figures with moderate to high effect sizes. In addition, the higher the figure's level of importance and centrality in the hierarchy, the greater the level of security with that figure (low to moderate effect sizes). Results were discussed in light of attachment-security hypothesis and correction versus replication processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-290
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2013


  • adulthood
  • attachment relationship
  • attachment security
  • attachment-security hypothesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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