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date: 27 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Attachment theory, which concerns the effects of experiences in close relationships on patterns of thought and behavior in subsequent relationships, provides a conceptually rich, research-generating framework for the study of prosocial behavior. This chapter presents theoretical ideas and relevant empirical evidence dealing with attachment-related differences in prosocial motives, cognitions, feelings, and behavior. It first considers ways in which previous secure and insecure relationships affect subsequent mental representations of others, and it reviews research on attachment-related differences in perceptions and expectations of others. It also reviews applications of attachment theory to the study of parental caregiving and the provision of care and support to dating and marital partners. It then summarizes studies showing that attachment security contributes to the development and expression of prosocial virtues such as compassion, generosity, gratitude, and forgiveness.

Keywords: attachment, caregiving, person perception, prosocial virtues, close relationships

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