A Study of 65,000 Participants Shows How People are Attachted to Their Partners


How are people attached to their partners?

A study by Mickelson and colleagues (1997) examined 65,000 participants and their attachment styles, with an equal distribution of men and women. They wanted to examine the way in which people are attached to their partners. Sample characteristics: 60% of the participants were married, 10% were living together, 30% were singles at the time the study was conducted.

Those, who did not have a partner, were told to report how they usually behave when they are in relationships (indicating how they usually attach to their partners).

Like we would expect, the study showed that the majority of participants had secure attachment styles to their partners. More specifically, women showed this tendency a bit more (61%) than men (59%). Also among participants with anxious attachment styles, the gender differences were almost equivalent (i.e. 12% women v. 10% men).

There was a greater amount of men (28%) than women (22%) who had a weak attachment toward their partners. Interestingly, 1/4 of the sample size was found to have weak/insecure attachments, which is a fairly high amount of people.

The study also found an association between attachment styles and education: highly educated people were found to have secure attachment styles more frequently, and neither did they have anxious attachment styles as often (5%).

However, there was no association between education and weak attachment styles, and neither did the study find differences in attachment styles among people who lived in metropolises and towns. At last, age could not explain differences in attachments as well.

Image: Captain Kimo