Models of Intimacy of Securely and Avoidantly Attached Young Adults: A Narrative Approach


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Abstract

This study compared models of intimacy implicit in the narratives of young adults (mean age, 25 years) with secure (n = 13) and avoidant (n = 13) attachment styles. Participants completed an open-ended interview in which they described past and present adult love relationships. Content analysis revealed that although secure and avoidant individuals expressed needs for both closeness and distance, the meaning they attached to these needs differed. Narratives of secure individuals were more likely to include themes of caring, idealization, and passion; in contrast, the narratives of avoidant individuals were more likely to contain themes of holding, self-validation, and calmness. Avoidant individuals implicitly endorse an “infant-mother” intimacy model, whereas secure individuals seem to hold a “two-adult” intimacy model.

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