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Attachment Styles & Romantic Relationships

Attachment styles reflect how people think about and behave in relationships. Those with a secure attachment style generally trust their relationships, while those with an insecure style often worry about or distrust their bonds with others.

The Attachment Styles & Romantic Relationships worksheet is an accessible overview of attachment and the four main attachment styles: secure attachment, anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, and anxious-avoidant attachment. The worksheet describes common traits associated with these styles and how they impact adult romantic relationships.

Use this worksheet to introduce clients to attachment styles and aid them in the identification of their style. This is a valuable step for clients wishing to improve their relationships and break unhelpful patterns. The worksheet can also educate clients’ loved ones on the role attachment styles play in adult relationships.

For another attachment-related tool, see our Creating Secure Attachment article.

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References

1. Antonucci, T., Akiyama, H., & Takahashi, K. (2004). Attachment and close relationships across the life span. Attachment & Human Development, 6(4), 353–370.

2. Beeney, J. E., Stepp, S. D., Hallquist, M. N., Ringwald, W. R., Wright, A. G. C., Lazarus, S. A., Scott, L. N., Mattia, A. A., Ayars, H. E., Gebreselassie, S. H., & Pilkonis, P. A. (2019). Attachment styles, social behavior, and personality functioning in romantic relationships. Personality Disorders—Theory and Treatment, 10(3), 275–285.

3. Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss: Separation: Anxiety and anger, vol. 2. New York: Basic Books.

4. Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss: Loss: Sadness and depression, vol. 3. New York: Basic Books.

5. Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. (2022, February 9). How attachment styles influence romantic relationships. https://www.columbiapsychiatry.org/news/how-attachment-styles-influence-romantic-relationships

6. Davila, J., Burge, D., & Hammen, C. (1997). Why does attachment style change? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(4), 826-838.

7. Evraire, L. E., Dozois, D. J. A., & Wilde, J. L. (2022). The contribution of attachment styles and reassurance seeking to trust in romantic couples. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 18(1), 19-39.

8. Fraley, R. C. (2018). Adult attachment theory and research: A brief overview. http://labs.psychology.illinois.edu/~rcfraley/attachment.htm

9. Ha, L. (2021, November 11). Recognizing our attachment style can help us in our relationships. Stanford Couples Counseling. https://www.stanfordcouplescounseling.com/recognizing-our-attachment-style-can-help-us-in-our-relationships/

10. Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. (1987). Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(3), 511-524.

11. Manson, M. (n.d.). Attachment styles and how they affect your relationships. https://markmanson.net/attachment-styles

12. Paquette, V., Rapaport, M., St-Louis, A. C., & Vallerand, R. J. (2020). Why are you passionately in love? Attachment styles as determinants of romantic passion and conflict resolution strategies. Motivation and Emotion, 44(4), 621-639.

13. Sbarra, D. A., & Hazan, C. (2008). Coregulation, dysregulation, self-regulation: An integrative analysis and empirical agenda for understanding adult attachment, separation, loss, and recovery. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12(2), 141–167.

14. Selcuk, E., Zayas, V., & Hazan, C. (2010). Beyond satisfaction: The role of attachment in marital functioning. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 2(4), 258–279.

15. Shi, L. (2003). The association between adult attachment styles and conflict resolution in romantic relationships. American Journal of Family Therapy, 31(3), 143–158.

16. Umemura, T., Lacinová, L., Kotrčová, K., & Fraley, R. C. (2018). Similarities and differences regarding changes in attachment preferences and attachment styles in relation to romantic relationship length: Longitudinal and concurrent analyses. Attachment & Human Development, 20(2), 135–159.

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