Attachment and Health

Attachment can be defined as the emotional affectionate bond created in the context of the intimate relationships formed by infants with their primary caregivers. The capacity of a secure attachment persists into adulthood and is reflected in an individual’s quality of relationships with others. Researchers use attachment theory (i.e., the study of intimate bonds and their influence on a number of relationships and life factors) to understand the impact of relational quality on health-related conditions (e.g., disease, chronic illness) and mental health (e.g., mood, anxiety, deficits in self-concept). Specifically, they examine the relationship between attachment styles (i.e., secure, anxious, avoidant, or ambivalent) and the expression of acute or chronic illnesses. This entry provides an overview of the existing literature on attachment and health (including mental ...

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