Functionality of insecure attachment in cultural context as an early alarm and escape system

Sakman, Ezgi
The immense literature on attachment is dominated by an abundance of findings highlighting the benefits of secure attachment and the adverse outcomes associated with insecure attachment, yet nearly half of the population is consistently found to be insecurely attached. One explanation to this conundrum argues that insecure attachment may have adaptive advantages at the group level under conditions of imminent threat (Social Defense Theory; Ein-Dor, Mikulincer, Doron, & Shaver, 2010). The present dissertation aims to extend the investigation of functionality of insecure attachment by introducing the role of cultural context to explore possible adaptive advantages of different forms of insecure attachment in different cultural settings. The first study looked at cultural values and attachment orientations, and found significant relationships between attachment avoidance and an individualist/independent mindset, and attachment anxiety and a collectivist/relational mindset in both collectivist (Turkish, N = 368) and individualist (American, N = 350) cultural settings. The second study tested the functionality of attachment insecurity in different cultural contexts within an experimental setting with undergraduate participants (N = 164). The results provided support to the hypotheses in showing that insecure attachment behaviors are evaluated as more functional by the members of a culture as long as they are compatible with the prevalent attachment orientation-cultural values relationship within that particular cultural context. The findings were discussed in light of previous work and cultural implications. 
Citation Formats
E. Sakman, “Functionality of insecure attachment in cultural context as an early alarm and escape system,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2016.