Avoidant attachment and the experience of parenting

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2006 Mar;32(3):275-85. doi: 10.1177/0146167205280910.


Guided by attachment theory, this research investigated connections between avoidant attachment styles and the experience of parenting after the birth of a couple's first child. One hundred and six couples completed a battery of measures approximately 6 weeks before and 6 months after the birth of their first child. As anticipated, parents with more avoidant attachment styles experienced greater stress after the birth of their child and perceived parenting as less satisfying and personally meaningful. Attachment theory maintains that adult attachment styles should affect relationships with adults and with one's children. The present findings provide some of the first evidence that self-reported adult romantic attachment styles, which have been the focus of attachment research by social and personality psychologists, are systematically associated with parent-child relationships. They also provide insight into the processes through which secure and insecure attachment styles might be transmitted from one generation to the next.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Object Attachment*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Personality / physiology
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology