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Jordan Wood
Jordan Wood


Both autonomy and attachment are positively related to psychosocial adjustment during adolescence. The aim of the present study was to examine the assumption that a high level of autonomy within a context of attachment provides the best constellation for psychosocial adjustment. Subjects were 400 adolescents. Attitudinal, emotional and functional autonomy were connected with attachment to father, mother and peers to predict indices of psychosocial adjustment: social competence, academic competence, self-esteem, problem behaviour and depressive mood. Only main effects of autonomy and attachment were found. There was no evidence for an extra positive effect of being both autonomous and strongly attached.


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Thanks so much for the article Jeremy. This is almost a direct account of my relationship with my partner. I was wondering if you have any recommendations on reading material my partner and I can peruse, that can help us come up with ways to cope with our attachment styles.

In some ways it is reassuring to know that these opposing styles of courtship is what also drew us to one another: I have the extroverted energy he does not. I hope dearly that he gets in touch with me soon. At present I wonder if it is OK to contact him first in a number of weeks- or if I should allow him to come forth first. Does this question even matter? Or is this another manifestation of my anxious attachment? Would it encroach on his space? (I suspect nobody but I or one who knows him well could answer.)

Development of self-esteem is fundamental to autonomy. Discover your wants, needs, and passions. Practice self-expression, self-acceptance, and setting boundaries (being able to say no). Take risks, including interpersonal risks, to enhance your competence, autonomy, and effectiveness. This in turn raises self-esteem and provides motivation to take more risks.

Having supportive, less conflict ridden relationships with parents also benefits teenagers. Research on attachment in adolescence find that teens who are still securely attached to their parents have less emotional problems (Rawatlal, Kliewer & Pillay, 2015), are less likely to engage in drug abuse and other criminal behaviors (Meeus, Branje & Overbeek, 2004), and have more positive peer relationships (Shomaker & Furman, 2009).

Failing to acquire the virtue of hope will lead to the development of fear. This infant will carry the basic sense of mistrust with them to other relationships. It may result in anxiety, heightened insecurities, and an over feeling of mistrust in the world around them.Consistent with Erikson's views on the importance of trust, research by Bowlby and Ainsworth has outlined how the quality of the early experience of attachment can affect relationships with others in later life.if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined')ez_ad_units.push([[336,280],'simplypsychology_org-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_18',145,'0','0']);__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-simplypsychology_org-large-mobile-banner-2-0');2. Autonomy vs. Shame and DoubtAutonomy versus shame and doubt is the second stage of Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial development. This stage occurs between the ages of 18 months to approximately 3 years. According to Erikson, children at this stage are focused on developing a sense of personal control over physical skills and a sense of independence.Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of will. If children in this stage are encouraged and supported in their increased independence, they become more confident and secure in their own ability to survive in the world.

So, the parents need to encourage the child to become more independent while at the same time protecting the child so that constant failure is avoided.A delicate balance is required from the parent. They must try not to do everything for the child, but if the child fails at a particular task they must not criticize the child for failures and accidents (particularly when toilet training).

We recently discussed advice on dating in recovery, noting at the time that some of our advice would be subject to differ depending upon the personality types of the people involved. While we gave some broad examples of various personality types, we did not go into much detail on attachment styles. But attachment styles are highly important, as they influence much more than simply our romantic entanglements. Their influence extends to just about every relationship in our lives, and the attachment styles of those with whom we surround ourselves can actually tell us a lot about our own personalities.

This is important to note. In the aforementioned dating article, we suggested that a person might learn a lot by writing out a relationship history and looking for trends in their romantic life. Using the four primary attachment styles makes these trends a little more obvious. Furthermore, by assessing the attachment styles of our family and closest friends, we might learn a little bit more about how our own attachment style was developed.

Each of the four attachment styles mentioned below can be assessed in a few different ways. First of all, each attachment style is defined by whether we have a positive or negative model of self and a positive or negative model of others. Anxiety and avoidance are simply alternative ways of assessing these models.

If you have a decent understanding of anxiety and avoidance, then it will not be too difficult for you to understand the four primary attachment styles. These styles are 1) secure, 2) preoccupied, 3) dismissing, and 4) fearful. We will examine each of them briefly, in the same order in which they have just been listed. In doing so, we will discuss the level of anxiety and avoidance in each, as well as how these attachment styles affect our relationships with others.

The secure attachment style (also known as the autonomous attachment style) is the most emotionally well-adjusted of all four. Those who display this attachment style possess a positive model of self and of others, and are generally quite low in both anxiety and avoidance. They are quite able to balance their emotional attachments to others with their natural need for autonomy and independence.

While this is the most emotionally well-adjusted of the four attachment styles, those who are secure or autonomous have not necessarily led carefree lives. In fact, many people who display this attachment style may have had very rough childhoods. Some people with secure attachment styles may have even come from families of addiction, or simply homes in which they were abused. Their security does not stem from a lack of previous trauma, but from their ability to assess their lives objectively. They do not fear intimacy or abandonment. They are usually content with what they have, even if they sometimes wish they had a little more.

This sense of autonomous security is not unattainable to those who exhibit the other three attachment styles. Many addicts do not begin with this attachment style, but may become more secure over time if they are able to benefit from therapy and other recovery tools. Those who possess secure attachment styles will usually have little trouble building a strong and sober support network, as they will be able to approach others without fear.

Those who exhibit secure attachment styles benefit from the knowledge that their emotions are real, and are not spurred on by anxiety or other negative influences. Secure love, whether for family, friends, or romantic partners, is the truest love around. The pursuit of security and autonomy is one of the best reasons to stay sober, for to attain true security is to live a life free from the illusions created and fueled by substance abuse.

The preoccupied attachment style is characterized by a negative model of self, but a positive model in others. Those who are preoccupied will generally exhibit high levels of anxiety, but low levels of avoidance. Out of all four attachment styles, this is the one most associated with clinging behavior, as the preoccupied adult will often be quite fearful of abandonment. Due to the high levels of anxiety associated with this style of attachment, it is also known as the anxious attachment style.

People with preoccupied attachment styles can often be prone to flights of romantic fancy, and this illusion can often overtake their sense of reality when they are in a relationship. They may form what is known as a fantasy bond, a relationship in which true love is usurped by mere labels and routine. The difference between the preoccupied attachment style and other attachment styles is that the preoccupied person may become overzealous about maintaining this bond, and may openly express anger or anxiety when they feel as if this bond has been threatened.

The next of the four attachment styles is generally known as the dismissing, dismissive, or avoidant attachment style. In this case, the adult possesses a positive model of self but a negative model of others. The dismissive adult will generally exhibit low anxiety, but rather high avoidance. The result is that they will demonstrate little in the way of emotions in their relationships, preferring their own autonomy to the needs of others.

If the avoidant adult has developed their attachment style as the result of their childhood, you might never know it from speaking to them. They might actually think they had a great childhood, even if the bulk of their actual childhood memories seem to suggest otherwise. This is because dismissive attachment styles tend to be steeped in denial. Many dismissing adults have been hurt, but they are able to avoid being hurt again by simply shutting out their emotions and refusing to let others peek beneath the mask they have decided to wear. On a subconscious level, relationships may be important to them. If relationships were truly unimportant, then the dismissive adult would have no need to seek the fantasy bonds in which they often find themselves. But they find it easier to pretend that they do not care, because it puts them at less risk of experiencing disappointment.


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