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Culture and attachment: How culture might effect the attachment process. Robin Goodwin, Kinga Kunowska Brunel University, London. Culture and attachment: A broad overview. We can several kinds of relationship between culture and attachment, and the consequences of attachment.

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culture and attachment how culture might effect the attachment process

Culture and attachment: How culture might effect the attachment process

Robin Goodwin,

Kinga Kunowska

Brunel University, London

culture and attachment a broad overview
Culture and attachment: A broad overview
  • We can several kinds of relationship between culture and attachment, and the consequences of attachment.
  • These make different assumptions about
    • The universality of particular parenting experiences.
    • The impact of those parenting experiences on attachment.
    • The relationship between attachment and ‘other things’ (e.g. personality, relationship schemata, love styles)
universalist approach
Universalist approach

Parenting

Attachment

Relationships

universalists
Universalists..
  • Freud (1914): Attachment love
  • Bowlby’s work (e.g. Bowlby, 1959)
  • Ainsworth et al (1978): universal relationship between mothering and security
  • Early attachment experiences influence general relationship schemata that then affect adult “love schemata” (e.g. Shaver & Hazan, 1993)
  • Doherty et al (1994): attachment styles more important than culture in shaping love styles. Interviewed Hawaiian students from 4 ethnic groups. Found attachment better predictor than I-C.
slide5

Culture as moderator of childhood attachment

Cultural

values

Parenting

Attachment

Relationships

culture as moderator of childhood attachment
Culture as moderator of childhood attachment
  • May be cross-cultural differences in proportions of both childhood and adult attachment styles (e.g. Sprecher et al, 2004).
  • May reflect cultural differences in child-rearing practices. Parenting can be seen as “an evolved answer to adaptive problems” (Keller, 2002)
  • Note: Most work assumes that the parenting experience  attachment link culturally consistent
  • ‘Cultural’ values (e.g. IC) can also emerge from culturally rooted early childhood experiences (Keller, 2002).
slide7

Attachment as an adaptation

Cultural

events

Attachment

styles

Relationships

attachment as an adaptation
Attachment as an adaptation
  • But maybe adult attachment styles are influenced by more than parenting? Can “internal working models” be subject to fairly rapid transitions, independent of parenting experiences?
  • Evidence of some rapid changes in core aspects of adult interpersonal relationships
    • E.g. trust levels fell substantially in Eastern Europe in years following end of Communism (Inglehart, 2003). What kind of anxieties/ ambivalence does this produce?
slide9
Definition of avoidant attachment style (Hazan & Shaver, 1990): “I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others; I find it difficult to trust them completely”
  • Work on mortality salience demonstrates that when people more scared, new unexpected attachments form (Schachter, Mikulincer).
  • Insomuch as attachment style is personal resource, may also be critical in appraising societal change (Lazarus, 1991)
slide10

Attachment, culture, and ‘other things’: culture as mediator

?

Attachment

Relationships

Culture

attachment culture and other things culture as mediator
Attachment, culture, and ‘other things’: culture as mediator
  • Some evidence of cultural differences in association between attachment  marital relationship (Onishi & Gjerde, 2002 in Japan)
  • Q: Just how “relevant” is an individuals attachment style when s/he comes to forming adult relationships?
  • Substantial proportion of world’s marriages are at least semi-arranged (Goodwin, 1999).
slide12
People in most cultures desire relationships with particular others (attractive, charming, British).
  • But in practice: Where broader societal factors are more important (Collectivist societies?) variance explained by attachment style in actual relationship formation may be small
slide13

In sum

Culture

Parenting

Attachment

Relationships

a

b

  • Cultural/ Societal changes directly impact on adult (?) attachment
  • Culture directly impacts on relationship practices