Culture-Based Emotional Working Models of Attachment, Western-Based Attachment, and Psychosocial Functioning of Chinese Young Adults

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Abstract

The aim of these 2 studies is to address the applicability of adult attachment theory to Chinese populations. Guided by the emic principle, the first study used a bottom-up, locally normed approach to develop a culture-based adult attachment scale, named Feelings in Significant Relationships Scale (FSRS) that focused on the emotional components of internal working models (IWMs) experienced by Chinese individuals. Results of Study 1 provided initial evidence for the preliminary psychometric properties of the FSRS. Study 2 examined the unique and joint effects of the emotional components of IWMs, Western-based adult attachment, and parental attachment on 3 psychosocial variables: depression, loneliness, and interpersonal problems. Results indicated that parental and adult attachment variables significantly predicted all 3 dependent variables reported by Chinese participants. In addition, the FSRS was found to predict a significant amount of variance in all dependent variables above and beyond what was accounted for by the existing attachment scales. An important implication of the findings is that the inclusion of the emotional components of IWMs, as measured by the emic-based FSRS, provides a more comprehensive understanding of attachment impacts on Chinese adults’ psychosocial functioning.

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