Attachment in African American and European American older adults: the roles of early life socialization and religiosity

Attach Hum Dev. 2003 Jun;5(2):188-214. doi: 10.1080/1461673031000108487.


The significance of attachment relationships in later life has recently emerged as an important topic of study. Yet little attention has focused on attachment dynamics among older minority adults. This paper extends the literatures on ethnicity, attachment, and later life by examining attachment patterns in two large community-dwelling samples of older (65 + years) African American (n = 671) and European American (n = 447) adults. Data gathered during face-to-face interviews included demographic information, adult attachment, early rearing experiences, and current religiosity. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that adult attachment dimensions were differentially predicted by childhood socialization patterns and current religiosity. Significant ethnic differences in relations between adult attachment and childhood socialization practices also were found. The results highlight the importance of examining contextual differences in attachment in later life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Aged
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Object Attachment*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires