Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Published: 2020-05-20

Attachment style as a determinant of romantic partner choice

Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Bogomolets National Medical University
Bogomolets National Medical University
attachment to parents attachment to a romantic partner partner image the image of parents adolescence


Relationships in society meet different social needs, for example, belonging to a social group (friends, neighbours) is needed to ensure a sense of social integration, and attachment (for example, in a romantic couple) is needed to meet the need for emotional intimacy. One of the important tasks of late adolescence is to establish an intimate relationship with a romantic partner.

It is known that an important predictor of partner choice is the early experience of attachment to parents. The system of attachment is a critical component in human relations. This experience will affect personality and interpersonal relationships in the later stages of ontogenesis.

The article presents a literature review, both theoretical and empirical studies, of the links between attachment to a romantic partner and features of relationships with parents. The dependence of the quality of attachment to a romantic partner with the quality of attachment to parents was determined. The quality of attachment to parents correlates with the image of them and their attitude to sons and daughters. Features of attachment to a romantic partner are associated with the images of both the parents and the partner. Without a reliable attachment base, the processing of emotionally charged conflicts from the past between partners is almost impossible, without this base activated fears and anxieties often become unbearable for the couple, a lot of resistance occurs.

The concept of transferring the style of attachment between generations proves that people who lack confidence in their parents, as adults, have difficulties in establishing stable romantic relationships and empathic response to the needs of their children. Therefore, studying the factors and mechanisms of the attachment system development in adolescence with possible further psychotherapeutic influence is of particular importance for psychology in general, and medical psychology in particular.


1. Havighurst RJ. Developmental tasks and education. New York: Davis McKay; 1952.
2. Weiss RS. Loneliness: The experience of emotional and social isolation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press;1973.
3. Frankova I, Similar but Different: Psychological and Psychopathological Features of Primary and Secondary Hikikomori. Front. Psychiatry. 2019; 10(558). PMID:31447713
4. Patton GC, Sawyer SM, Santelli JS, Ross DA, Afifi R, Allen NB, et al. Our future: a Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing. Lancet. 2016; 387(10036):2423–78. PMID:27174304
5. Freud S. Civilization and Its Discontents. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. London: Hogarth Press; 1930:57–145 .
6. Боулбі Дж. Прив’язаність. М: Гардаріки; 2003:446.
7. Bowlby J. Attachment and loss: Retrospect and prospect. American journal of Orthopsychiatry. 1982; 52(4):664. PMID:7148988
8. Bowlby J. The making and breaking of affectional bonds. I. Aetiology and psychopathology in the light of attachment theory. British Journal of Psychiatry. 1977; 130:201–210. PMID:843768
9. Ainsworth MDS, Blehar MC, Waters E, Wall SN. Patterns of attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. New York: Psychology Press; 2015: 3-22.
10. Main M, George C. Responses of abused and disadvantaged toddlers to distress in agemates: A study in the day care setting. Developmental psychology. 1985; 21(3):407.
11. Frankova I. Antecedents of primary and secondary acute social withdrawal. Psychosomatic Medicine and General Practice. 2017; 2(4): e020491-e020491.
12. Mikulincer M, Shaver PR. An attachment perspective on loneliness. In: Coplan R, Bowker J, ed. The Handbook of Solitude: Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, Social Withdrawal and Being Alone. NJ: John Wiley & Sons; 2013: 34–50.
13. Collins N, Read S. Adult attachment working models and relationship quality in dating couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1990; 58: 644-663. PMID:14570079
14. Hazan C, Shаver P. Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1987; 52: 511-524 PMID:3572722
15. Shaver PR, Hazan C, Bradshaw D. Love as attachment: The integration of three behavioral systems. In: Sternberg RJ, Barnes M, ed. The psychology of love. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; 1988: 68–99.
16. Bartholomew K, Horowitz LM. Attachment styles among young adults: A test of a four category model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1991; 61: 226-244. PMID:1920064
17. George C, Kaplan N, Main M. The Adult Attachment Interview. Unpublished manuscript. University of California at Berkeley; 1985.
18. Бриш К. (Терапия нарушений привязанности. От теории к практике. Litres; 2019.
19. Bretherton I, Munholland KA. Internal working models in attachment relationships: A construct revisited. In: Cassidy J, Shaver PR, ed. The handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications. New York: Guilford; 1999: 89-111.
20. Allen JP, Land D. Attachment in adolescence. In:J. Cassidy J, Shaver PR, ed. The handbook of attachment: Theory and research and clinical applications. New York: Guilford; 1999: 319- 335.
21. Гарвард ОО, Сабельникова НВ. Привязанность к романтическому партнеру юношей и девушек с разными особенностями взаимоотношений с родителями. Вестник психологии и педагогики Алтайского государственного университета. 2017; 1: 27-35.
22. Сабельникова НВ, Каширський ДВ. Опитувальник прив’язаності до близьких людей. Психологічний журнал. 2015;36(4):14-17.
23. Собчик ЛН. Психология индивидуальности. Теория и практика психодиагностики .СПб: Речь. 2005.
24. Вассерман ЛІ, Горьковая ІА, Роміцина ЕЕ. Батьки очима підлітка. Психологічна діагностика в медико-педагогічній практиці. СПб: Мова. 2004.