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date: 08 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Attachment theory is one of the most productive frameworks for studying the formation and functioning of personal relationships and the complex interplay between individual-level and relationship-level processes. In this chapter, we briefly describe our theoretical model of the activation and psychodynamics of the adult attachment system and use it to characterize individual differences in the sense of attachment security. We then summarize the positive effects that attachment security and related mental representations have on a person's social motives, cognitions, and behaviors. In the next section, we review research showing that attachment security contributes to various interpersonal processes that promote relationship satisfaction and stability in three stages of relationship development: flirtation and dating, relationship consolidation, and relationship maintenance. At the end, we suggest directions for further research in what is still a growing and changing research domain.

Keywords: attachment, security, anxiety, avoidance, working models, caregiving, behavioral systems

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