RESEARCH ARTICLE

Attachment Style, Love Style, and Attachment Behaviour in University Students’ Intimate Relationships, South Africa – A Brief Study

The Open Psychology Journal 10 Oct 2022 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/18743501-v15-e2208190

Abstract

Introduction:

Various studies have been conducted on attachment styles. The majority of these studies are from high-income countries and only a few focused on the relationship between attachment style, love style and attachment behaviour exhibited in intimate relationships or on this phenomenon in the context of a South African university. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between attachment style (secure, anxious and avoidant), love style (passion, intimacy and commitment) and attachment behaviour (accessibility, responsiveness and engagement) in intimate relationships in a South African university sample.

Methods:

A cross-sectional, correlational research design was employed. A total of 317 university students were sampled through the randomisation sampling technique. Instruments used were: Experience in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R), Sternberg’s Triangular Love Scale (STLS) and Brief Accessibility, Responsiveness and Engagement (BARE).

Results:

Data were statistically analysed. The male mean was 2.911 (SD = 0.496) and the female mean was 2.864 (SD = 0.499). The results suggest no significant relationship exists between attachment style, love style and attachment behaviour or gender differences regarding these variables. A significant positive correlation was reported between love styles (passion, intimacy and commitment) and attachment behaviour (accessibility, responsiveness and engagement). Intimacy significantly and positively correlates with passion (r =.75; p<.01) as well as commitment (r = .79; p<.01). Passion is also significantly and positively correlated with commitment (r = .82; p<.01).

Conclusion:

The study recommends attention to attachment styles among university students to improve how students relate to intimate partners. It concludes that knowledge about intimate partners is essential from a young age to lessen psychosocial issues in the future.

Keywords: Attachment behaviour, Attachment styles, Intimate relationship, Love styles, Intimate, Passion.
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