In recent years attachment theory has become one of the main ways in which psychologists think about people and their development through childhood and adolescence into adulthood, their problems and their relationships with other people. Attachment theory all hinges on the relationship between a child and its primary caregiver - usually their mother. People with secure attachment expect others to be accepting and responsive and are comfortable with intimacy and autonomy. People with preoccupied attachment are thought to have had inconsistent support, low sensitivity, high proximity and compulsive caregiving during their childhood and, as a result, have developed a style of relating to people in which they become excessively vigilant, very anxious and ambivalent. People who experienced a fearful attachment style have both a desire for closeness as well as a need for space and independence. They desire social contact but this desire is inhibited by fear of rejection. Finally, people with dismissing attachment have had an inconsistent and unsupportive relationship with their parents and have a negative view of themselves and others. They tend not to trust others and are more self-sufficient and cynical, are poor communicators and are independent. Researchers from Ege University in Turkey studied the effect of different attachment styles on 384 children aged between 11 and 16. The children filled out questionnaires to assess their attachment style and their development. The children with a secure attachment style had higher levels of good behaviour, less emotional symptoms, less hyperactivity and better relationships with their peers. A fearful attachment style was associated with more emotional symptoms and greater difficulties overall. A dismissing attachment style was significantly associated with more emotional symptoms, hyperactivity, lower levels of good behaviour and more problems overall.
Keskin, G. and Cam, O. - Adolescents' strengths and difficulties: approach to attachment styles Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing June 2010, 17(5), 433-441