In general, I don’t put a lot of stock in research on attachment styles. It’s not that I think the research is invalid, but I feel like it tries too hard to explain too much.* And, well, it bores me. Even so, when Joe provided a link to this article, I had to try to check out the actual study for myself.
Of course, this was about 2 months ago and I’m just now getting around to it. Turns out, the idea of reading about attachment style research is so boring that I get distracted every three words by something shiny. Like the sun. It’s there every day, but ooh, look at it’s brightness. I can’t even see it today because of the clouds, yet the world is bright. Ah, the sun. Shiny and yellow, bringing the world light and heat. O, glorious sun.**
Um, anyway. So I mentioned that reading about attachment and relationship research makes me want to drill a hole in my skull just to relieve the monotony, right? Well, I skimmed the article lest I find a drill and take it to my skull. I figured none of us want that, least of all me. I don’t need to accidentally give myself a lobotomy.
So, briefly, what I gleaned from my skimming.
First up, the statistics. They came up with some structural models, which made me go “huh?”. I don’t quite understand how that works yet, which means that I can’t say if the science behind it is sound. It was published in a prestigious and well-known journal, though, so I’d wager a guess that it’s good stuff. And someday in the future, I’ll probably understand structural models and go “Oh, yeah. Cool.” or something equally dorky.
The big thing to note, and the authors did, is that this is the first study to look at attachment in infancy and compare it to how people act or react in adult relationships. One study won’t change the face of psychology or attachment research, although this one does seem to have some implications for future research.
I gotta say, I don’t have anything bad to say about the science behind the study. It was a longitundinal study, following a group of people from infancy to adulthood. First of all, those studies are hard to maintain – they cost a ton of money and you have to make sure that you don’t lose too many people at your follow-up times. I can’t even imagine trying to keep a 20+ year study going. Whew. That’s pretty impressive. From what I can tell, the measures they used were valid, reliable, etc (they were good measures). This is good, solid research. Some of it might seem like common sense (as I hear from a lot of people who aren’t in the field), but we still need science to back up the thought process.
So, yeah. Blame your parents if your relationships go sour. At least there’s science to back you up on this one.
*Much like the research about birth order and the characteristics of a person based on if they were the first, middle, or last child. Although I think the birth order stuff bothers me most because they don’t know what to do about the Only Child, with different researchers/theorists equating the Only Child with either the First, Middle, or Last child. You’d think they could come up with a better solution, seeing as how it isn’t all that uncommon to be an Only these days. C’mon, people, get with the program!
**Well, it was bright but cloudy when I wrote that. Today, not so much the brightness.