Attachment Styles And Violence In Domestic Relationships Homework Essay Sample


            Attachment has been a term used in child rearing since John Bowlby coined the term for his attachment theory in the 1960’s.  More recently it has bee studied to help determine the effects of attachment styles on adult intimate relationships.  The results show that people with dismissive, preoccupied or fearful attachment styles have more tendency to have failed or aggressive relationships.

Attachment and Violence in Domestic Relationships

         Attachment in a very literal sense indicates that one object is connected to another object.  The term has been used by psychiatrists and psychologists to refer to the connection or bond developed between people.  The study of attachment known as attachment theory has been most commonly studied in describing the bond between parents and children. There have been years of studies conducted to determine the effects of attachment on relationships, health, and basic human survival.  One well known study in this area was conducted by taking infant monkeys away from their mothers to see how they would react without the maternal relationship.  The infant monkeys did not develop and had a very poor survival rate without a nurturing relationship.  Another critical study was made by accident in Russian orphanages many years ago.  These orphanages were overcrowded and had few care givers.  Infants were placed in cribs and handled only when fed or changed.  These interactions were minimal and rushed, leaving no opportunity for attachment to form between any of the infants and adults.  These infants were found to have very poor development in all areas (cognitive, motor, and language).  The infant mortality rate was quite high in these orphanages as well indicating that attachment is an essential need for normal growth, development and in some cases survival.  The study of attachment theory has become invaluable in parenting education and child development since the 1960’s.  Attachment begins at birth and needs to develop in the early years of life in order for the child to feel safe and loved.

Attachment theory is attributed to John Bowlby, who was the first to coin many of the phrases used when discussing attachment today including the styles of attachment.  He developed attachment theory after observing the reaction that normal infants have when separated from the primary caregiver.  The term “Separation anxiety” is used to describe this crying and distressed reaction.  This reaction usually begins at about the age of eight months and is in response to the relationship with the primary (most important) caregiver in the child’s life. A primary caregiver is usually the child’s mother, but can be a father, a child care provider, a grandparent or foster parent.

Bowlby identified three main types or styles of attachment in parent-child relationships secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent (Fraley, 2004).  A secure attachment is indicative of a healthy parent child relationship in which the child feels safe and secure within the relationship.  The parent in this relationship is sensitive and responsive to the child’s needs (Collins, Cooper, Albino and Allard, 2002).  These children express some degree of distress when the primary caregiver leaves the room and are happy and easily comforted upon the caregiver’s return. Anxious-ambivalent children show distress when the parent leaves but demonstrate little comfort by their return and may continue to cry (Wagner, 2007).  In this attachment style, the parent is inconsistent with the child and not always responsive to the child’s needs (Collins, Cooper, Albino and Allard, 2002). Avoidant children show little distress when the caregiver leaves and may avoid them when they return and does not seek comfort from the parent (Wagner, 2007).  These parents are rejecting or unsupportive with the child and unresponsive to his needs (Collins, Cooper, Albino and Allard, 2002).  Secure children will develop more quickly.  They show the attachment by exploring the environment while returning frequently for reinforcement from the caregiver.

Bowlby also noticed that if a secure attachment was not formed within the first three years of life, a lasting effect was created on the child’s ability to maintain healthy relationships later in life.  This is called “attachment disorder” and is identified in young people who have come from traumatic childhoods.  This occurs due to the child having no primary caregiver, a distant caregiver, or an abusive one. It causes the child to be unable to form the needed attachment with the primary caregiver and thus has difficulty developing attachments to other people.  This can cause problems developing and maintaining healthy relationships in adolescence and adulthood. It is exhibited by an angry, distant and often unresponsive young person.  These young people sometimes act out aggressively.

The recent research into attachment styles has been on the effects of childhood attachment styles on adult relationships.  Researchers have taken the information derived from the parent and child attachment theory to determine if the attachment styles developed in childhood are carried into adulthood.  In these studies, adult attachment styles are identified for people in relationships and compared with the styles of their partners.  The studies have focused on how relationships are developed, what attachment styles are attracted to each other and if domestic violence is the result of conflicting attachment styles.

Adult attachment theory consists of four attachment styles which compare to the three styles in child attachment theory and are believed to be developed by the attachment style the person developed as an infant.  Secure style is when the person has a positive view of self and others (Bookwala, 2002).  These people are autonomous (self sufficient) but, are comfortable seeking and accepting help, support and love from others (Ells, 2001). Dismissing style means the individual has a positive view of self and a negative view of others (Bookwala, 2002).  These people have a tendency to distance themselves from others.  They see themselves as self reliant, do not need others and do not feel rejection from others (Ells, 2001).  They need to be in control of a relationship. Preoccupied style happens when a person has a negative view of self and a positive view of others (Bookwala, 2002). These people are overly dependent on attachment and need the approval of others to feel validated (Ells, 2001).  They will get involved in a relationship with anyone who will pay attention to them and will cling to them.  Fearful style consists of a person who has a negative view of self and others (Bookwala, 2002).  These people see others as distant and unavailable.  They do not think others would love them, because they are unlovable (Ells, 2001).  They do not develop relationships easily and have difficulty maintaining them.  These attachment styles are used to describe how adults view their relationships with other adults. The studies have questioned what combinations of styles lead to healthy relationships and what causes relationships to lead to aggression or failure.

One test was conducted on couples to determine what they perceived as their own and their partner’s attachment styles.  The results were based on how participants responded to a questionnaire (Bookwala, 2002).  The study concluded that the majority of participants viewed themselves to have a secure attachment style (Bookwala, 2002).  Participants primarily reported their partner as having a secure attachment style (Bookwala, 2002).  This indicates that people seek secure attachment and that those who have a secure attachment style tend to develop a relationship with others who have a secure attachment style (Bookwala, 2002).  Participants who described themselves as dismissive or fearful often described partners who were dismissive or fearful indicating that people tend to be drawn to people with similar styles (Bookwala, 2002).  This study was limited by the way the participants interpreted the questionnaire and how they viewed their relationship.  Many people want to view a relationship as secure therefore some that reported as secure attachment styles could actually be in one of the other categories.

When people who are secure develop relationships with other securely attached people, the relationship is usually successful.  When however the other attachment styles pair up, the relationships are affected in varying ways.  One example of this is when two people with avoidant or dismissing attachment form a relationship they may avoid open communication and affection (Collins, Cooper, Albino and Allard, 2002).  This kind of relationship may lead to cold and distant partners with little communication. These relationships may lead to failed relationship.  Two preoccupied people developing a relationship would both tend to be insecure, jealous and suspicious of the other.  This kind of relationship often fails because of the suspicion and jealousy involved.  Fearful people would have difficulty developing relationships, but if paired with a secure person could have a successful relationship.

When determining if these types of pairings can lead to aggression and domestic violence, the types of pairings have to be considered again.  The questionnaire study indicated that approximately half of all participants in the study indicated some kind of aggression at least once during the relationship (Bookwala, 2002).  Those who reported that both they and their partner were secure were less likely to report aggression.  Fearful and preoccupied paired with either similar types or one of each could have some aggressive incidents, but were more likely to end in failed relationships than aggression. The combination that proved to be the most likely to create aggression or violence in a relationship, was an anxious, or preoccupied female partnered with a dismissive male (Bond and Bond, 2004).  In this relationship, the female would be insecure and would cling to the male for support.  The male in this relationship feels he does not need a partner and finds the neediness of the female annoying, leading to violent behavior.  The female fearful of rejection from others would not leave the abusive male.

In addition to these studies abnormal, aggressive or criminal behavior patterns were then studied to determine if it could be defined by attachment styles.  Stalking behavior was added to this theory in an attempt to find what kind of attachment style causes this type of behavior.  The study conducted on this subject determined that stalking seemed to involve more than one type of attachment.  The attachment types involved included dismissive (which was combined with narcissism a type of self absorbed personality), and some degree of preoccupied and fearful styles (Wilson, Ermshar, and Welsh, 2006).  The person who becomes a stalker has a need to be loved and becomes obsessed with someone.  They have to however, also have an over active sense of self to be sure that the stalking victim needs them as well.  This creates an entirely new type of attachment, which could correlate with the childhood version of attachment disorder. In a study to determine what kind of attachment style led to men becoming sex offenders, it was determined that the majority of sex offenders had a tendency to be more insecure or fearful attachment (Lyn and Burton, 2005).  This study also determined that non-sexual offenders (assault) were more on the side of dismissive attachment (Lyn and Burton, 2005).  Although there are other factors that can be involved in criminal or abnormal behavior such as psychosis or other personality disorders, studying attachment styles can provide some insight into ways to prevent these behaviors.

Attachment has been determined to be a vital to life.  It needs to be formed in the early years of life.  This has been an argument for a reason for mothers to stay at home with children instead of working outside of the home during the first few years of the child’s life.  A primary caregiver attachment can be formed, however with people other than the mother.  A regular daycare provider, father or grandparent can help a child form a secure attachment.  The one fact that is certain is that the attachment has to provide the child with security, safety, and support.  The child needs to develop a sense of worth and value in order to begin the development of personality. The studies have been used for years to show the need for healthy speech, motor, cognitive and social development. Parents of newborns are encouraged to provide learning opportunities, chances for success and exploration of environment and safety.  The infants need to know their needs are being met adequately and the caregiver provides love and support.

More recently the value of these early attachments has become even more vital.  It has been determined that the attachments formed during these early years determine the attachment style the person develops as an adult.  These attachment styles play a significant role in the success or failure of the relationships they form in adolescence and adulthood.  These studies determine that if a child begins life in a loving supportive home with at least one adult who provides him safety and encouragement during the first few years of life, he will have a much better chance of forming and maintaining healthy and

Secure relationships as an adult.  Once the attachment styles are formed, the person needs to be made aware of the type of style he has in order find an effective mate.  An adequate pairing of attachment styles can lead to a happy healthy adult relationship.  These relationships can be formed even if the child did not have a secure attachment.  People who are preoccupied or fearful as adults need to develop a relationship with a caring, supportive person who validates them.

Although not all criminal behavior can be avoided, knowing the backgrounds of individuals and providing the proper kinds of counseling for those who need it can minimize stalking, aggressive and sexual deviation types of behavior.

These studies are vital to help people cope more effectively and to help relationship counselors find ways to assist people when they have conflicts in relationships.  This could reduce the divorce rate and increase the likelihood of people being able to maintain mutually beneficial, satisfying adult relationships.  By having knowledge of these results, people can have happier healthier lives and raise happier healthier children.


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Attachment: Theories And Applications

            Although babies can communicate many of their feelings right from the start, their social lives change rather dramatically as they become emotionally attached to their caregivers. John Bowlby (1969) uses the term to describe the strong affectional ties that we feel for the special people in our lives. According to Bowlby (1969), people who are securely attached take pleasure in their interactions and feel comforted by their partner’s presence in times of stress or uncertainty. Developmentalists have long debated the issue that people are especially responsive and affectionate to the person who feeds them. There are four influential theories of attachment: psychoanalytic theory, learning theory, cognitive-developmental theory and ethological theory.

According to Freud, young infants are “oral” creatures who derive satisfaction from sucking and mouthing objects and should be attracted to any person who provides oral pleasure. Since it is usually mothers who “pleasure” oral infants by feeding them, it seemed logical to Freud that the mother would become the baby’s primary object of security and affection, particularly if she was relaxed and generous in her feeding practices.

            Erik Erikson also believed that a mother’s feeding practices influence the strength or security of her infant’s attachments. However, he claimed that a mother’s overall responsiveness to her child’s needs is more important than feeding itself. According to Erikson, a caregiver who consistently responds to all an infant’s needs fosters a sense of trust in other people, whereas   unresponsive or inconsistent caregiving breeds mistrust. He adds that children who have learned not to trust caregivers during infancy may come to avoid close mutual-trust relationships throughout life.

                                   Learning Theory: Rewardingness Leads to Love

            For quite different reasons, some learning theorists have also assumed    that infants become attached to persons who feed them and gratify their needs. Feeding was thought to be particularly important for two reasons (Sears, 1994). First, it should elicit        positive responses from a contented infant such as smiles and coos, which are likely to increase a caregiver’s affection for the baby. Second, feeding is often an occasion when mothers can provide an infant with many comforts—food, warmth, tender touches, soft, reassuring vocalizations, changes in scenery, and even a dry diaper—all in one sitting. Over time, then, an infant should come to associate his mother with pleasure or pleasurable sensations, so that the mother herself becomes a valuable commodity. Once the mother  (or any other caregiver) has attained   this status as a secondary reinforcer, the infant is attached; he or she will now do whatever is necessary (smile, cry, coo, babble, or follow) in order to attract the caregiver’s attention or to remain near this valuable and rewarding individual.

                                            Cognitive-Developmental Theory

                      Cognitive-developmental theory has little to say about which adults are most likely to appeal to infants, but it does remind us of the holistic character of development by suggesting that the ability to form attachment depends, in part, on the infant’s level of intellectual development. Before an attachment can occur, the infant must be able to discriminate familiar companions from strangers. He must also recognize that familiar companions have”permanence” about them (object permanence), for it would be difficult indeed to form a stable relationship with a person who ceases to exist whenever she passes from view (Schaffer, 1971). So perhaps, it is no accident that attachments first emerge at age 7 to 9 months—precisely the time when infants are entering Piaget’s fourth sensorimotor substage, the point at which they first begin to search for and find objects that they have seen someone hide from them.

                                                     Ethological Theory

            Ethologists have proposed a most interesting and influential explanation for emotional attachments that has strong evolutionary overtone. A major assumption of the ethological approach is that all species, including human beings, are born with a number of innate behavioral tendencies that have in some way contributed to the survival of the species over the course of evolution. Indeed, John Bowlby (1969), who was originally a psychoanalyst, came to believe that many of these built-in behaviors are specifically designed to promote attachments between infants and their caregivers. Konrad Lorenz reported that very young goslings followed almost any moving object—their mothers, a duck, or even a human being, a behavior he labeled imprinting. Lorenz then concluded that imprinting was an adaptive response. Young birds generally survive if they follow their mothers so that they are led to food and afforded protection. Those that wander away may starve or be eaten by predators and thus fail to pass their genes to future generations.

                           Caregiving in Patients with Anxiety or Depression

           Helping patients is not only about treating their immediate and pressing problems, caregivers and clinicians must also ensure that long-lasting effect will take place and that the client will not relapse into its past melancholy.                    Among the psychotherapy choices are cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal, psychodynamic, existentialist and personal approaches. Several researches illustrated that the best results can be obtained with the combination of medication and psychotherapy. Not only are indicators or symptoms of depression resolved, patients also learn how to manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are causing their depression. Overall, a combination of these two keeps patient steadfast in their medication and prevents relapses.

     Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

            Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a derivation from two earlier treatments, Cognitive Therapy and Behavioral Therapy. Beck et al. (1979) claimed that the rationale behind Cognitive Therapy is that “an individual’s affect and behavior are largely determined by the way in which he structures his world.” A person’s cognition of his world, therefore, determines his behavior and distress. Behavioral therapy on the other hand, was viewed as more suited to the severely depressed, “not only to hang behaviors, but also elicit cognitions associated with specific behaviors” (Beck et al. 1979). CBT was founded by Beck and Ellis in the 1960s.

            What makes CBT effective is that it realigns skewed ways of thinking to reality and trains individuals to replace destructive behavioral patterns. Thus, both thoughts and actions are affected by the therapy and the patient feels relief because he can finally pursue the activities that his once negative thoughts are preventing him from doing.                                                    Support as Intervention

It is worth mentioning that depression or anxieties in children are triggered by hormonal changes during adolescence that can also trigger anxiety during this time (Cameron, J. 2005). Reproductive, adrenal, and growth hormones all change during puberty, Judy Cameron noted. Stress can cause hormone changes, too, by increasing cortisol levels. Moreover, hormone levels can fluctuate by the hour and differ among individuals.

In the light of analyzing this issue and relating it to the attachment theory, the intervention of support attempts to reassure the client of his or her ability to survive the threatening experience. Support may be communicated nonverbally by an understanding nodding of the head. It can be a verbal acknowledgment of the person’s distress, “This must be hard for you,” or reflecting the person’s own words, “You were really frightened.” Less preferably, one may even suggest, “You’ll get over this.”

Support is one of the most universally effective interventions. At its most fundamental level, it tells the client he or she is not alone, and that there is hope. When used to excess, there is risk that the client will shirk responsibility for coping with the problem and, instead, retire into a dependence upon the helper, Fantasies of a magical cure, or that the helper will solve the problem, may replace active striving to work it out. Excessive support may also seem patronizing, or suggest to the client that the counselor does not really understand the severity of the problem.

                                   Secure and Insecure Attachments

Attachment theorists such as British psychiatrist John Bowlby (1089) and American developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth (1979) argue that secure attachment in infancy is central to the development of social competence. In the last decade, developmentalists have begun to explore the role of secure attachment and related concepts, such as connectedness to parents, in adolescent development (Eberly & others, 1997). They believe that attachment to parents in adolescence may facilitate the adolescent’s social competence and well-being, as reflected in such characteristics as self-esteem, emotional adjustment, and physical health (Allen & Kuperminc, 1995). For example, adolescents who show more satisfaction with help received from parents report more emotional well-being (Burke & Weir, 1979), and adolescents with secure relationships with their parents have higher self-esteem and better emotional well-being (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987). In contrast, emotional detachment from parents is associated with greater feelings of parental rejection and a lower sense of one’s own social and romantic attractiveness (Ryan & Lynch, 1989). Thus, attachment to parents during adolescence may serve the adaptive function of providing a secure base from which adolescents can explore and master new environments and a widening social world in a psychologically healthy manner  (Allen & Bell, 1995). Secure attachment to parents may buffer adolescents from the anxiety and potential feelings of depression or emotional       distress associated with the transition from childhood to adulthood. In one study, when young adolescents had a secure attachment to their parents, they perceived their family as cohesive and reported little social anxiety or feelings of depression (Papini, Roggman & Anderson, 1990). The importance of both autonomy and relatedness in parent-adolescent relationships was recently documented in a longitudinal study (Allen & Hauser, 1994). Adolescents’ ability to establish their autonomy while maintaining a sense of relatedness when interacting with parents at 14 years of age was related to their success in intimate relationships and self-worth in early adulthood.

                                       Helping the Depressed

There are more recent studies and materials that explain a variation in this. For example, the book by Ian Goodyer on The Depressed Child and Adolescent published by Cambridge University Press maintains his volume bears witness to the rapid advances taking place in our understanding of depression in children and adolescents, specifically, in the realms of psychopharmacology, psychotherapies, and genetics. Our understanding of the interplay between the bio-psycho-sexual-social factors is crystallizing: we are gaining better understanding of the way in which each component impacts on the other. Gone are the days of polarized camps of dynamic vs behaviorist vs biologic theorists. This is based on the most recent conceptual, clinical, theoretical, and research data in the field of child and adolescent depression. The editor is internationally well known in child and adolescent psychiatry for his scholarly book on the study of life experiences and their impact on the development of child psychopathology. He has collaborated with several contributors in this volume, choosing well-established and proven experts to contribute chapters on their particular area of clinical and academic research (Goodyer, I. (ed). 2001).

According to Erikson’s theory, the primary developmental task of adolescents is to achieve a positive role identity (Erikson, 1963; Gross, 1987; Rasmussen, 1964). One essential factor in achieving a positive role identity is the understanding by adolescents of their present self in terms of their past developmental achievements, and uniting it with their future aspirations and expectations of competence.  This sense of continuity between present, historic, and future self is a hallmark of resolving one’s identity crisis. Another hallmark of an achieved identity is positive self-esteem. In order to resolve the identity crisis, adolescents need an opportunity to feel that they are persons of worth.

Once adolescents have a positive sense of worth and a basic sense of continuity of self, they are ready to move to succeeding psychosocial stages (Erikson, 1963). Adolescents then focus their psychosocial energy on intimacy formation – sharing themselves with another person while maintaining their own identity. Once basic identity and intimacy have been achieved, they enter the generativity stage of parenting (Erikson, 1963; Gross, 1987).

Following Erikson’s theory, it was assumed here that positive self-esteem should be a predictor of positive parenting; that is, competent parenting requires that the mother has achieved a mature sense of psychosocial identity.  Thus, understanding how adolescent self-esteem relates to eventual parenting is necessary for delineating the predictors of positive parenting practices by adolescent mothers. It is important to underscore that this conclusion is based upon the assumption that developmental stages are more predictive of behavior than is age. However, it is recognized that age and developmental stages are correlated (Erikson, 1963; Gross, 1987).

According to the stage in Erikson on Identity vs. role confusion, adolescents explore different possibilities for career, interests, friends and family. . It is at this stage that   adolescents are trying different behaviors and values from what they have learned at home. They may experiment with alcohol, drugs, sex, minor crimes, new religions, and new hobbies. They are trying to define themselves separate from their parents, although, in the end, most adolescents adopt many of their parents’ same values and behaviors as well as unique views of their own.


Indeed, in many other studies that have been conducted, researchers have suggested that family cohesion is related to several psychological outcomes, including depressive symptoms. Depressed adolescents seem to have a more negative thinking of their families than the other adolescents. The more depressed the young person, the more negative are his perceptions of the way in which his family functions. Specifically, depressed adolescents describe their parents as distant, unsupportive and emotionally unavailable (Eley, T., 2004).

In summation, effective parenting of the adolescents is vital to their emotional well-being than do the other factors such as heredity. The family is first of the social institutions in which the adolescent can find himself, be secure, and the one with the most profound influence on his emotional well-being. In the presence of a more cohesive and supportive family, depressed adolescents will decrease necessarily. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the effects of stress as this stage is in itself a complex developmental stage. From the information presented, we can conclude that the family provides a cushion for young people as they go through their adolescent stage. The family environment can mean a lot between a happy or a depressed adolescent. Resilience in adolescence can be built to create a positive mental health by the families to which they belong. In treating depression, it is important to note that the development of the more sophisticated investigative techniques need assessment and a closer examination whether they can really claim to do all of these things.

            Secure attachment or connectedness to parents also promotes competent peer relations and positive, close relationships outside of the family. In sum,  the old model of parent-adolescent relationships suggested that, as adolescents mature, they detach themselves  from parents and move into a world of autonomy apart from parents. The old model also suggested that parent-adolescent conflict is intense and stressful throughout adolescence. The new model emphasizes that parents serve as important attachment figures, resources and support systems as adolescents explore a wider, more complex social world. The new model also emphasizes that, in the majority of families, parent-adolescent   conflict is moderate rather than severe and that everyday negotiations and minor disputes are normal, serving the positive developmental function of promoting independence and identity.


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Attachment Theory And Conflict In Marriage


Amidst all the successes that society achieves through the existence of technology and communication, it is quite disturbing how the situation of the most important sector of society suffers so much. Family, as the basic unit of social relationships, is the one receiving the most negative effects of technological and industrial advancements. Intimacy and attachment have been much a hard case to deal with when dealing especially with modern married couples.

  The thoughts of long ago regarding the long-run relationship that marriage is supposed to be had been gradually changed by the fact that the system of the society today has already changed as well. The priorities and the goals of individuals have already been exchanged with the need of being economically successful in the field of their own chosen careers. Sadly, although both men and women are aware that they were meant to share a special relationship based on love, only a few are able to realize to understand the reality of the vows that they give at the brink of their wedding ceremonies.

  Marriage, as a “human contract” is a special bond that should be considered as a serious link between two people who are bound by love. However, at some point, the view of marriage has been changed during the present era. Because of the social changes, marriage has been subjected to different challenges. Today, conflicts are directly bombarded towards the relationship of married couples that in turn makes the situation much harder to deal with. As a result, many among those couples simply end up in divorce. Why is this so? Moreover, how are these particular cases of divorce-related to the attachment theories that were further studied by psychologists to be able to explain the reason behind these particular occurrences in society? These questions are the main reasons why I would like to use this particular topic as a focus of an impending study that I shall deal with for this certain course. Understanding the psychological claims regarding the said situations of marriage and divorce and integrating them with the actual theories that identify the reasons why they particularly occur in marriages would be the focus of the said study.

With the concern mainly directed to the married mates and their conflicts, I would intend to check different peer-reviewed journals that are directly related to the issues behind the marriage bond. From this particular research, I would like to see the consistency of the theories that were used to explain the reasons behind marriage conflicts and their actual impact on real experiences. I plan to examine the truth behind the claims and the relation of the theories with the actual occurrences. To start with, the introduction of the major literature that would be utilized for the completion of this research.

Literature Review

The Truth behind Divorce Reports The present society is an epitome of an almost perfect community of progress in terms of industrialization and economic growth. However, along with the said particular advancements, it could be noticed that a certain sector in the society suffers alongside. The family, particularly, is one of the most important sectors of any human community. As the basic unit of organization, the family remains the primary source of values and personality development of each individual in the society. It could not be denied that although there has been much progress on different issues of the society concerning the economy and technology, the suffering of the human relationships such as the family indeed has a great effect on the progresconcern that the society deals with.

The Conflicts

For many years, it has been a standard definition of a family to be referred to as a group of people who are related to each other and are thus bonded together by blood. The attachment within the said group goes beyond just the existence of a common blood, but it is further linked stronger through the existence of love. With the said advancements though of the society, the family is further subjected to facing several issues that concerns the strength of its ties. With this point of focus, the relationship that exists between all its members should then be carefully examined. This examination should involve the said relationship with the social progress that the family faces today. From the surveys conducted by several social volunteers, there are at least three major factors of human relationship that contributes, to the aggravation of the situations that the family faces at present. These three factors include time, communication and intimacy. Time primarily involves the ability of the family members to give other members the needed the time that they are due for bonding and development of their relationship as a family.  Since time is lacking, the members of the family are having a hard time creating time for themselves to at least deal with each other through communication, in turn, intimacy is lost. This is specifically true with parents, or married couples. Because of the time that they devote to their jobs, they usually find it hard to balance their time to give each other attention for the sake of the development of their relationship. As a result, the love that they once have lost the love that they once had for each other because of lack of time, communication and loseupon intimacy, their relationship’s solidity begins to drift away.

 This is where the issue of divorce comes in. It is much usual that when the couples loose their love for each other, their relationship begins to lack the strength it needs to help them stick together. As a result, most of them end up onin divorce. As for a fact, there are at least 54% of the newly married couples in America end up in separation when they reach at least an average of three to five months of being together. At some point, around 29% of the said divorcees are young parents who decide that they are not yet ready to face the family life after living canin together for some time. The children though, that they leave behind or that they abandon in some way are the ones receiving the impact of divorce. To help in the clarification of the issue, the following diagram is cited to show how many among the population in the American region actually submit themselves to marriage and how many of them actually have children.

Diagram Analysis:

  This diagram particularly shows that there is comparatively a high rate of couples who have their children within their own-created families. Hence, once they decide to go separate ways,period later on, the situation becomes a hard-to-deal-with account on the part of their children. To make the statistical data more clarified, the researcher of this paper has gathered the following notable data:

“Since the introduction of “no-fault divorce” in Canada 30 years ago, the rate of marital break-up has soared 600%. A third of marriages fail, and over a third of those break-ups involve children. One-fifth of Canadian children have lost a parent to divorce, with an effect that some sociologists now say can be “worse than a parent’s death.” Divorce is consistently associated with juvenile emotional disorders, crime,

suicide, promiscuity and later marital break-up.” From “The push for ‘high-octane’ marriages: An American state Rolls back the divorce revolution by re-establishing life-long covenants. “The number of children living with both parents declined from 85 to 68 percent between 1970 and 1996. The proportion of children living with one parent has grown from 12 percent to 28 percent during this same time span.” From these particular reports, it could be noted that the number of children being directly affected by divoishaverce are growing every year. Certainly, this also points out the need of attending to the needs of the children who are directly affected by the said result of social advancement towards economic industrialization that in turn is directly related to family issues at present.

  With these particular reports and commentaries regarding marriage and divorce that has been collected through annual surveys and statistical analysis, divorce could then be considered as a major threat to the families, especially to the children who become the victims of this particular conflict in marriages. To be able to undestand the deeper reasons behind these situations in a more clarified view, psychologists came up with a study that discusses the theories behind the major conflicts that marriages face today. This particular study pertains to the research on how the attachme theories particularly affect the relationship of married couples.

The Attachment Theories

 It has been mentioned earlier that one of the main causes of the downfall of the strength of the marital link at present is the fact that the social advancements changed the priorities of human individuals. The time that they used to spend with their families is now used to attain more achievements in their own chosen career. As a result, only a few numbers of married couples are able to can relationships survive up to 50 years of lengthened relationship. However, with the studies that were further researched by psychologists, it could be noted that there are also some psychological reasons behind the development of marital conflicts. The finding particularly pertains to the development of attachment theories. According to Dennis Coon, a behavioral psychologist, there are at least three types of attachment theories. The said types are to be discussed as follows:

  Secure Attachment

 It is a stable and positive emotional bond that makes an individual secure about his or her partner. This particular attachment is marked by caring,    intimacy, supportiveness and, understanding. Moreover, people who are involved in this type of relationship think of others as generally well intended, reliable and trustworthy. As result, they are able to easily get into close relationships.

  Avoidant Attachment

 This type of closeness with a partner is influenced by fear of commitment and intimacy. People of this type of attachment usually pull back when the situation within their relationship gets tough. Another result of this particular attachment is that people tend to get suspicious, aloof, and skeptical about love. Overall, they are not able to become secure enough about their relationship that makes their attachments less lasting as expected. They tend to find others when they are faced with difficulties within a certain relationship.

 Ambivalent Attachment

This type of attachment is more of like a mix-up of what is secure and what is doubtful. It is a conflicting situation by which a person experiences intimacy towards a partner; desiring to constantly be with them and yet is having doubts on the capability of their partner to take care of them and the love that they offer to their mates.(Buss, As quoted by Coon, 1999, 123)

 With these particular types of attachment, it could be noted that people get involved within relationships for several reasons and have their own reasons why they at times opt to end their relationships. Their individual personalities indeed affect the part where their partners are also isolated to their own vision of what relationships are actually about. To support the said claims further, Buss tried to study the gender differences of men and women with regards their views of relationship.

The Involvement of Evolutionary Psychology:

   “In a study of 37 cultures in six continents, Buss, a psychologist, found out the following pattern of human relationship bonds:

  1. Compared with women, men are more interested in casual sex; they prefer younger and more physically attractive partners; they get more jealous over real or imagined sexual infidelities than they do over a loss of emotional commitment
  2. Compared with men, women prefer slightly older partners who appear to be industrious, higher in status, or economically successful; women are more upset by a partner who becomes emotionally involved with someone else, rather than one who is sexually unfaithful (Buss, 1994, 19-28, As quoted by Coon, 1999, 124)

   With these two main findings a conclusion could be derived. This particular conclusion refers to a rule male and female relationship. As a rule, women invests time and energy within a relationship. This is mainly because of the fact that women are involved in more effort than men when it comes to reproduction processes.

As a result, women think of long time relationship based closeness with their partners because of the fact that they are more expecting of a men who are able to provide them and their supposed children with the things ass well as the finances that they need. As a whole, women are more on commitment and long time relationship, while men are more concerned with the physical attractiveness of their partners and thus are able to change their mates easier than women could.

From this study, it could be noted that the attachment theories make deeper and more reasonable explanations why some people settle for separation than actually solving the problems of their marital relationship. Attachment theories as were given sense by the psychological studies, could be noted as the primary collected reasoning that could be used to understand marital conflicts in a deeper context.

To be able to prove the reality of the said theories and the claims of authorized reports mentioned in this chapter, I also propose to use a certain methodology that shall be discussed within the paragraphs that follows through.



 So as to be able to incorporate Interpersonal communication within the methodology of this research, I plan not only to use the researches and the literature materials that were further cited earlier. Aside from the research based on writing, I also plan to get involved in an analytical interview with several married couples who are both having a good relationship and some who are not.

 The interview questions shall be designed to encourage the respondents to unfold the possible deeper reason behind the conflicts that they deal with. The questions would also be designed to two sections that would address the respondents as mates and then later on as individuals. This is to be able to help them understand the fact that this research aims not only to resolve their problems as a couple, but also to resolve their issues as individuals that may consequently contribute to the betterment of their relationship later on.

 The Respondents

Particularly, I would choose my respondents from few people married couples that I already know. This would help me understand the situation from more than just basing from what is obviously seen and observed from their answers during the scheduled interview. Knowing them in a deeper manner shall help me incorporate the values that they have as to how their situation goes well. With them knowing me, it would also help them disclose possible secrets within their relationship that may have triggered the conflicts that they have or may currently be dealing with still.

It would be a minimum requirement that the respondents are still living together or are still married. They are expected to at least have two to three years being together since this methodological research shall be particularly based upon the experiential accounts of the respondents as individuals and as couples.


 To be able to help the three pairs of respondents disclose their selves to answer the questions provided for the interview. I would make use of the different tactics of conversation that would help me come up with the less-pressuring questions that are supposed to be answered. As for example, to ease some tension [since some questions would be quite personal], I would have sessions of interview that would isolate maybe an individual or maybe a couple from the others for them to be able to speak out their minds much freely. Aside from this, I plan to perform the interview method in a one-week span for me to be able to get the needed informations from the respondents in a not so pressured time limit. This particular visits and some panel interviews between me and my respondents would make the process much easier to complete, while coming up with the more essential informations needed for the research.

 Data Collection and Presentation

 I plan to use the integration of averaging with the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data that shall be collected trough the interview. Obviously, the data that are expected to be gathered would mainly be opinionated. Hence, the connection that the opinions and the theories would share shall be analyzed well through the average results off all the responses that I shall receive from the respondents themselves. To clearly present the final results, the usage of charts and diagrams shall be implemented. Accompanying the said diagrams and chart or tabular presentations are the explanations that would support the information that they ought to tell the readers in particular.


 As the methodology that would be used would be consisting of research materials and its integration with actual-situation-based interviews, it could be expected that the result of this particular study would become an effective proof of the validity of the explanation using the attachment theories to refer to the conflicts that the married couples experience during their stay together. Furthermore, I also expect to find the deeper reason behind the marriage conflicts and be able to find several suggestive solutions that could attend to the major problems that married couples usually meet. This is to particularly help in the campaign for the sake of the children who are further victimized by the occurrence or existence of divorce in the society.


Review of the Purpose

As it has been mentioned earlier, this research is further designed to raise the conflicts that directly affect the lives of married couples. Along with the disclosure of the said problems, their reasonable explanations of occurrence shall be examined through the examination of their connection with the attachment theories. Consequently, it could be noted that through this particular purpose, I might also be able to find some possible solutions to the said conflicts as their roots are already to be discovered.

Scope and Limitations

 Although the research that is proposed herein is strongly designed to address the main problems that are governing the human marriages today, there are still several areas that this study may nor be able to comprise within the time and the methodology that is planned to be applied. Particularly, the issue on how attachment could also be used as a way by which a marriage conflict could be solved is not so much focused upon in this study. Hence, it would be better if further studies could attend to this particular topic in the future.


 To sum up, the entire study would be concentrating on the theoretical and actual situations of marital conflicts. This topic, as per mentioned earlier, indeed concerns several individuals who are within a relationship or within a family that is governed with such kind of conflicts, hence, making the study an essential topic for research and discussion.


 Aside form the methodologies used herein, mainly the interview of the couples who are directly experiencing conflicts within their married life, it could also be appealing to get the opinions of the experts such as marriage counselors, regarding the matter. Their opinion with regards the situation would indeed contribute to the validity and accuracy of the end report. More than that, it could also be expected that with the integration of such expert-based opinions, the application of the solutions that may be gathered from the methodology could become much effective as to actual situations.


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