Multi-method process analyses of attachment style change in adulthood
Dansby, Rachael A.
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This dissertation examined adult attachment style change in the context of two distinct studies. Study 1 is a longitudinal dyadic analysis of couple attachment style change using secondary data to examine, specifically, the attachment trajectories of couples with no history of therapy use compared to couples where one or both attended therapy prior to the study. Analysis used procedures for longitudinal dyadic analysis of latent constructs. Dyadic analysis also examined gender differences in attachment style change. Results indicated only husbands in Group 1 (history of therapy use) demonstrated significant change over time, and change was negative. There were also significant group differences but not gender differences. Study 2 is a grounded theory analysis of positive attachment style change among women, with the goal of establishing a theory of how they earn security. Analysis followed constructivist grounded theory procedures. The resulting model of positive attachment change suggests the process is lengthy and complex, hinging on metaconditions of positive attachment change such as intentionality and the presence of surrogate attachment figures, and making intrapsychic changes to identity and worth. Participants also extended their process into making interpersonal changes. This dissertation provides implications for attachment-informed clinicians and researchers as well as anyone interested in improving their own attachment security.