Relationship between attachment style, love style and attachment behaviour in intimate relationships of university students
Tyolo, Thandiswa Patricia
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Over the years, researchers have expressed great concerns on love and attachment behaviour in intimate relationships, particularly because relationship difficulties have been found to account for a large part of subjective well-being, failed marriages and escalated rate of divorces as well as being regarded as a main contributor to depression, drug addiction and suicide. Yet, little attention has been given to factors concerning people’s attachment styles which could influence love style and attachment behaviour in intimate relationships. These connections have implications for developing better couple understanding, promoting and maintaining satisfying intimate relationships, which in turn can assist in decreasing the rate of divorces, also in South Africa. This may be applicable later in life as high proportions of students seem to find their partners at universities. This study therefore investigated the extent to which attachment styles could influence love styles and attachment behaviour in intimate relationships of university students. The study is anchored in a cross-sectional correlation research design. By means of a simple randomisation sampling technique, a total of three hundred and seventeen (n=317, 160 females, 157 males) university students between 18 and 40 years of age were randomly selected. The battery used to collect data in this study included the following instruments: Experience in Close Relationships –Revised (ECR-R), which was used to measure attachment style; Sternberg’s Triangular Love Scale (STLS), which was used to assess the love style; and Brief Accessibility, Responsiveness, and Engagement (BARE) scale, which was used to assess attachment behaviour. Three hypotheses were tested using Pearson product moment correlation statistics, and independent T test. Results using Pearson product moment Correlation statistics are suggestive of a positive relationship among love styles (passion, intimacy and commitment) and attachment behaviour (accessibility, responsivity, engagement). No relationship was observed between the independent variable (attachment style) and dependent variables (love style and attachment behaviour). The use of a T test suggested no significant gender difference on love styles and attachment behaviour. This is contrary to some findings in literature as females are said to be influenced by culture, social norms and gender roles in their way of loving. However, other findings in literature support the results found in the present study. Gaining insight regarding attachment styles, love styles and attachment behaviour in intimate relationships can expand knowledge in existing theories, which in turn can contribute to more satisfying relationships. Therefore, the study recommends that psycho-education programmes at universities provide knowledge for couples to assist them in understanding themselves better, work on areas of concerns and have more satisfying relationships. This can also lead to less psychological problems for couples in future.
- Humanities