Hazan and Shaver: Evaluation, Theory, Attachment (2023)

Do you feel comfortable around other people and can trust them easily? Or do you find it challenging to connect with them? These are some of the questions you would have to answer if you stumbled across Hazan and Shaver’s ‘love quiz’ in American newspapers in 1987. However, you would not have been aware that you had played a role in one of the most famous studies of attachment theory.

  • First, we are going to review attachment theory.
  • Next, we will look at the Hazan and Shaver continuity hypothesis.
  • Then, we will look at the Hazan and Shaver 1987 procedure and conclusion.
  • Finally, we will delve into the Hazan and Shaver strengths and weaknesses.

Aim of Hazan and Shavers Experiment

Cindy Hazan and Philip Shaver’s research focused on developing and expanding attachment theory. So, before we dive into their study, let’s first look at attachment theory.

Attachment theory states that children need to form a connection (attachment) with their caregiver to develop normally.

John Bowlby, the main founder of attachment theory, said that children need a secure attachment to a primary caregiver to feel safe and explore the world around them, which is essential for normal social and emotional development.

Bowlby (1969) proposed that a child’s attachment to their caregiver forms a mental representation of how relationships work. Mary Ainsworth (1978) later identified three attachment types in children: secure, insecure-resistant, and insecure-avoidant.

A child who has experienced secure attachment to their caregivers will believe that adult relationships should operate in the same loving, trusting, and safe manner.

Early on, attachment theory only studied children. The attachment research only focused on children and was extremely successful in showing these attachment styles between a child and caregivers exist around the world.

Hazan and Shaver (1987) wanted to build upon this existing literature. They proposed that the attachment style that the baby had with their caregiver extended to adult romantic relationships.

Hazan and Shaver’s Continuity Hypothesis

An important term in Hazan and Shaver’s research was the continuity hypothesis.

(Video) Hazan and Shaver attachment theory and studies

The continuity hypothesis states that our childhood relationships with our caregivers can affect and forecast our future adult relationships.

The continuity hypothesis was a definition that Bowlby made when outlining his theory on attachment. Hazan and Shaver used the continuity hypothesis as a basis for their research.

The continuity hypothesis would say that if you grew up in a house with a parent who loved and supported you, you would have a secure attachment to that parent. Later on, as an adult, you would have healthy and supportive relationships since that is what you experienced as a child.

Hazan and Shaver: Evaluation, Theory, Attachment (1)

Fig. 1. A secure attachment to your caregiver increases the likelihood of having secure relationships as an adult.

Hazan and Shaver 1987: Procedure

Hazan and Shaver’s main aim was to see if partners in adult romantic relationships also experience an attachment process like an infant and their caregiver.

To study this theory, they put together a love quiz. This love quiz ran in a local newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, and asked people to send in their answers.

There were two parts to the quiz – the first looked at attachment style from the participants’ childhoods, and the second was a questionnaire about the participants’ beliefs on love.

The questionnaire asked about fundamental aspects of a relationship (e.g. the importance of trust) and dealbreakers in relationships (like cheating and jealousy).

(Video) What Is Your Attachment Style?

Hazan and Shaver looked at the first 620 responses from their newspaper advertisement. The participants were 205 men and 415 women between the ages of 14 and 82. Of their sample size, 42% were married, and 31% were dating someone.

Hazan and Shaver used the first part of the love quiz to categorise the participants’ childhood attachment styles. They sorted the participants into Ainsworth’s attachment types – secure, insecure-resistant, and insecure-avoidant.

Hazan and Shaver 1987: Conclusion

Researchers classified 56% of participants as having secure adult attachments. They were more likely to have balanced and longer-lasting romantic relationships. They described their romantic relationships as positive, happy, friendly, and trusting.

19% of the participants were classified as insecure-resistant. They reported they experienced love as a compulsive commitment. They constantly worried about their partner’s love because they feared they would abandon them.

The final 25% of participants were insecure-avoidant people who feared closeness and did not believe they needed love to be happy.

Not only did these findings line up with the researchers’ hypothesis, but they also mirrored the percentages that Ainsworth found in her initial studies.

Hazan and Shaver found that the prevalence (proportion of the general population) of the three attachment styles was the same in adulthood as in childhood. In addition, the results supported the concept that the internal working model has a lifelong effect.

The research was the first to support the continuity hypothesis that our attachment style in childhood predicts our romantic relationship style in adulthood.

However, Hazan and Shaver acknowledged that not all people remained true to their childhood attachment style and changed throughout their lives. As with most studies, their findings mostly supported their hypothesis but did not support it 100%.

(Video) The Attachment Theory: How Childhood Affects Life

Evaluation of Hazan and Shaver (1987)

Hazan and Shaver successfully studied what they intended to do. Their results show that a child’s attachment style in infancy impacts their attachment to a partner later in life. These results show a key expansion of the attachment field.

Hazan and Shaver: Evaluation, Theory, Attachment (2)Fig. 2. Secure infant attachments can lead to secure adult relationships.

Numerous studies have happened since Hazan and Shaver’s research. Many of these studies also focus on attachment styles in adulthood or how they can evolve from childhood to adulthood.

The continuation of research in this field shows the impact that Hazan and Shaver had on attachment. While they were the first to study how infant attachment can predict and affect adult attachment styles in romantic relationships, they are not anymore. Their research opened the door for others to expand on this literature.

Hazan and Shaver’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Finally, let’s evaluate Hazan and Shaver’s 1987 strengths and weaknesses.

Hazan and Shaver: Strengths

Both men and women participated in the study. The study supports Bowlby’s theory that relationships in childhood influence relationships in adulthood (continuity hypothesis).

Mcarthy’s (1999) study supports the evidence for the influence of early attachments on future relationships. He conducted a study with 40 women of adult age who shared information about their childhood, which helped determine their early attachment styles in the study.

Women with secure attachments in childhood rated their romantic relationships more positively than women with insecure-avoidant and insecure-resistant attachment styles.

Feeney and Noller (1992) studied university students in relationships. They found that those with insecure-avoidant attachment styles were the most likely to engage in a breakup. However, attachment styles also changed as the relationship progressed to a firmer and more stable level.

(Video) The Four Attachment Styles of Love

Hazan and Shaver: Weaknesses

Hazan and Shaver’s study may have some problems regarding its validity. Their questionnaire depends on the honesty and realistic views of the respondents when disclosing relationship experiences with their parents in childhood.

Also, the accuracy of the answers could be a problem since they rely on the participants’ memories, i.e. retrospective information. As a result, these factors could compromise the study’s validity.

The researchers conducted the study with an exclusively American population and, therefore, could be ethnocentric. The study relied on self-report, so participants may not have been sincere because they wanted to sound socially desirable.

Clarke and Clarke (1998) described the influence of early childhood attachment on later relationships as a probability but not a certainty. People should not be judged for having bad relationships because they already have attachment problems. The determinism that comes with this statement could significantly impact them and cause them more suffering. So if we overemphasise the risk, we become too pessimistic about people’s future.

Additionally, the study population was limited to people who received the specific newspaper and who would respond to newspaper articles. This narrows down the participants to a very specific type of person.

Hazan and Shaver - Key takeaways

  • The aim of the Hazan and Shavers experiment was to identify if early attachments could predict later relationships.

    (Video) Influence of early attachment on childhood & adult relationships - Attachment (3.06) AQA paper 1

  • Hazan and Shaver (1987) examined the application of attachment theory to adult romantic relationships and designed a ‘love quiz’.

  • They found that people with secure attachment types had more balanced and longer-lasting romantic relationships.

  • The prevalence (proportion of the general population) of the three attachment styles (secure, insecure-resistant, insecure-avoidant) was the same in adulthood as in childhood.


What is the attachment theory of love Hazan and Shaver? ›

According to Hazan and Shaver, the emotional bond that develops between adult romantic partners is partly a function of the same motivational system--the attachment behavioral system--that gives rise to the emotional bond between infants and their caregivers.

What kinds of relationships did Hazan and Shaver extend attachment theory to? ›

In 1987, Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver extended attachment theory to include adult romantic relationships. They identified four styles of romantic attachment in adults: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant and fearful-avoidant.

What are the 3 attachment styles proposed by Hazan & shaver? ›

Hazan and Shaver (1987) extended Bowlby and Ainsworth's work (Ainsworth et al., 1979; Bowlby, 1969) on infant–caregiver attachment to include adult romantic love which encapsulates three styles of behaviour termed, secure, avoidant, and anxious (or anxious–ambivalent).

What were the findings of Hazan and Shaver love quiz? ›

Evidence to support the internal working model comes from Hazan and Shaver, who used a questionnaire called the Love Quiz. They found a positive correlation between early childhood experiences and later love experiences. Securely attached children went on to develop secure and happy adult relationships.

What is Hazan and Shaver 1987 attachment measure? ›

Hazan and Shaver (1987) proposed that three attachment styles seen between infants and their primary caregivers would emerge as three primary attachment patterns during adulthood. They developed a self-report questionnaire to classify adult attachments into secure, avoidant, and anxious/ambivalent clusters.

How many attachment styles did Hazan and Shaver assess in their famous newspaper study? ›

Hazan and Shaver (1987) developed a 'forced choice' self-report measure of adult attachment, which consisted of three paragraphs written to capture the main features of Ainsworth's three attachment styles.

What is the influence of early attachment Hazan and Shaver? ›

Hazan and Shaver found that 56% of the respondents were securely attached and 25% were insecure avoidant. The 56% securely attached were the most likely to have a good and lasting romantic relationship. The avoidant respondents were the most likely to show jealousy and fear of intimacy.

What is the summary of attachment theory? ›

attachment theory, in developmental psychology, the theory that humans are born with a need to form a close emotional bond with a caregiver and that such a bond will develop during the first six months of a child's life if the caregiver is appropriately responsive.

What is the main idea of attachment theory? ›

The central theme of attachment theory is that primary caregivers who are available and responsive to an infant's needs allow the child to develop a sense of security. The infant learns that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to then explore the world.

What are the 3 theoretical perspectives on attachment? ›

The prevailing hypotheses are: 1) that secure attachment is the most desirable state, and the most prevalent; 2) maternal sensitivity influences infant attachment patterns; and 3) specific infant attachments predict later social and cognitive competence.

How do you score the attachment style questionnaire? ›

The ASQ is unique in that it measures general attachment to other people, thus allowing assessment of the general sociability of a respondent. Respondents give answers on a 5-point scale, ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

What are the 3 main patterns of attachment? ›

The 3 main attachment styles: Which one are you?
  • Anxious attachment style. Anxious attachment is characterized by a concern that the other person, whether with a significant other, friend or family member, will not reciprocate your level of availability. ...
  • Avoidant attachment style. ...
  • Secure attachment style.
Sep 28, 2022

How can you tell the difference between love and attachment? ›

Love evokes fond feelings and actions toward the other person, particularly. Attachment is driven by how you feel about yourself with the degree of permanence and safety someone gives you, based on your past relationships. In other words, with love, your person is “the one” you have feelings for.

What are the primary principles of intimacy According to Reiss & shaver? ›

According to Reis and Shaver (Reference Reis, Shaver and Duck1988), intimacy is an interpersonal, transactional process with two principal components: self-disclosure and partner responsiveness. Intimacy can be initiated when one person communicates personally relevant and revealing information to another person.

What is an attachment issue? ›

What are attachment disorders? Attachment disorders describe conditions that cause children to have difficulty with emotional attachments with others. This can include a lack of emotional responses or overly emotional attachments.

What is Hazan study? ›

HAZAN (Hazard Analysis) is a systematic method for identifying and assessing hazards in the workplace. The technique focuses on job tasks as a way of identifying hazards before they occur.

How is place attachment measured? ›

Another way to test the dimensionality of the place attachment scale is to compare the mean differences among place identity, place dependence, nature bonding, family bonding, and friend bonding scores. To identify significant differences, paired samples t-tests were run between the five dimensions.

What is attachment theory Bowlby's 4 stages explained? ›

Bowlby specified four phases of child-caregiver attachment development: 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6 months to 3 years, and 3 years through the end of childhood. Expanding on Bowlby's ideas, Mary Ainsworth pointed to three attachment patterns: secure attachment, avoidant attachment, and resistant attachment.

What are the 4 attachment styles? ›

Bowlby identified four types of attachment styles: secure, anxious-ambivalent, disorganised and avoidant.

What are the 4 attachment styles name and briefly describe each? ›

There are four adult attachment styles:
  • Anxious (also referred to as Preoccupied)
  • Avoidant (also referred to as Dismissive)
  • Disorganized (also referred to as Fearful-Avoidant)
  • Secure.
Jul 2, 2020

Why is attachment theory important in early childhood? ›

In particular, attachment theory highlights the importance of a child's emotional bond with their primary caregivers. Disruption to or loss of this bond can affect a child emotionally and psychologically into adulthood, and have an impact on their future relationships.

What happens when you share a shaver? ›

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caution against sharing razors because razors cause microscopic cuts in the skin as they remove hair. These nicks are large enough to allow viruses and bacteria into the skin. Blood borne diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis are the largest concerns.

What factors impact attachment? ›

Income and family size, parental age and education, major stressful events, such as loss of a parent, birth of a sibling, severe illness, marital relationships and breakdown affect the quality of attachment relationships [13-19].

What is the conclusion of attachment theory? ›

Children have a basic, evolved need for attachment to other individuals who can provide security as well as supplying physical needs such as food, warmth, clothing and shelter. Children can and do form multiple attachments with those people around them who provide ongoing care.

Why is understanding attachment theory important? ›

The development of attachment theory is important because it provides a way to understand how secure attachments in early childhood can support children's future brain development (Siegel, 2012).

What is the criticism of attachment theory? ›

A serious limitation of attachment theory is its failure to recognize the profound influences of social class, gender, ethnicity, and culture on personality development. These factors, independent of a mother's sensitivity, can be as significant as the quality of the early attachment.

Can attachment theory explain our relationships? ›

Attachment theory describes how our early relationships with a primary caregiver, most commonly a parent, creates our expectation for how love should be. Our view of ourself and others is molded by how well these caregivers were available and responsive to meet our physical and emotional needs.

Why are the three theoretical perspectives important? ›

Sociologists today employ three primary theoretical perspectives: the symbolic interactionist perspective, the functionalist perspective, and the conflict perspective. These perspectives offer sociologists theoretical paradigms for explaining how society influences people, and vice versa.

What are the three theoretical approaches? ›

These three theoretical orientations are: Structural Functionalism, Symbolic Interactionism, and Conflict Perspective. To understand a theoretical orientation in any profession it is critical to understand what is meant by the term theory.

What are the three theoretical considerations? ›

Three dimensions were identified for classifying developmental theories: environmental versus maturational, performance versus competence, and general versus specific.

What is the attachment style rating scale? ›

The Adult Attachment Ratings (AAR) include 3 scales for anxious, ambivalent attachment (excessive dependency, interpersonal ambivalence, and compulsive care-giving), 3 for avoidant attachment (rigid self-control, defensive separation, and emotional detachment), and 1 for secure attachment.

What is the measurement of attachment scale? ›

The CLOSE scale measures the extent to which a person is comfortable with closeness and intimacy. The DEPEND scale measures the extent to which a person feels he/she can depend on others to be available when needed. The ANXIETY subscale measures the extent to which a person is worried about being abandoned or unloved.

What are Brennan Clark and Shaver's two attachment dimension scale? ›

Brenan, Clark, and Shaver (1998) called the two dimensions “attachment-related anxiety” and “attachment-related avoidance,” the first referring to anxiety about rejection, abandonment, and unlovability, and the second to avoidance of intimacy and dependency.

What are the key components of attachment theory? ›

There are four basic characteristics that basically give us a clear view of what attachment really is. They include a safe heaven, a secure base, proximity maintenance and separation distress. These four attributes are very evident in the relationship between a child and his caregiver.

What are the 4 types of attachment quizlet? ›

Terms in this set (4)
  • Secure. Infants actively explore their environment and interact with strangers while their caregivers are present, after separation they actively seek interaction with caregivers upon return.
  • Anxious-Resistant. ...
  • Anxious-Avoidant. ...
  • Disorganized.

Which attachment style is most likely to cheat? ›

According to psychologists, people with avoidant attachment styles are individuals uncomfortable with intimacy and are therefore more likely to multiply sexual encounters and cheat.

Can you be in love but not attached? ›

One of the first things we must begin to realize is that, believe it or not, we can love people without attachment. It is entirely possible to be fully committed to someone without being attached to them, and to feel deeply emotionally connected without becoming entirely dependent on them.

How do you know if a guy is emotionally attached to you? ›

One clear sign a man is emotionally connected to you is when he truly cares for you. When you reciprocate his feelings, there is a better chance of him getting emotionally attached. He also tries to show his romantic side in his way. He might do it by talking to you for hours or taking long walks with you.

Can you be emotionally attached but not in love? ›

You can become emotionally attached to people even without romantic or sexual attraction. Simply feeling close to someone helps you bond and increases your sense of connection.

Why is the intimacy process model important? ›

The intimacy process model (IPM) seeks to explain how interactions of a deeply personal nature facilitate the development, maintenance, or deterioration of intimacy. The IPM views the significance of self-disclosure mostly as an eliciting opportunity for the partner responsiveness.

What is the 3 level model of intimacy? ›

Psychologist Robert Sternberg's theory describes types of love based on three different scales: intimacy, passion, and commitment. It is important to recognize that a relationship based on a single element is less likely to survive than one based on two or more.

What is the most common attachment disorder? ›

Reactive attachment disorder is most common among children who experience physical or emotional neglect or abuse. While not as common, older children can also develop RAD.

What is the best therapy for attachment issues? ›

Play therapy is often effective for children experiencing RAD. A child with this condition might attend therapy with the caregiver, and treatment generally focuses on strengthening their relationship and working to develop a healthy attachment.

How do you break attachment issues? ›

10 Ways to heal your attachment issues in a relationship
  1. Learn more about attachment styles. ...
  2. Determine what your style is. ...
  3. Know your boundaries and expectations. ...
  4. Talk to your partner. ...
  5. Work with a therapist. ...
  6. Work on yourself. ...
  7. Write down your thoughts. ...
  8. Don't keep to yourself.
Nov 15, 2022

How does Horney's theory relate to attachment theory? ›

Horney's conceptualizationsuggests that the quality of the early mother-infant attachment relationship may predispose an individual toward adopting a be- havioral style that inhibits the development of unique capacities and leaves the person less flexible in dealing with stress.

What did Schaffer and Emerson find about attachment? ›

Parent-infant attachment: Schaffer and Emerson (1964) found that infants tend to become attached to the mother first, then form attachments with other figures (such as the father) later on- usually by the age of 18 months.

What does the attachment theory explain? ›

attachment theory, in developmental psychology, the theory that humans are born with a need to form a close emotional bond with a caregiver and that such a bond will develop during the first six months of a child's life if the caregiver is appropriately responsive.

What is the major theme of Horney's theory? ›

Horney's theories focused on the role of unconscious anxiety. She suggested that normal growth can be blocked by basic anxiety stemming from needs not being met, such as childhood experiences of loneliness and/or isolation.

How did Karen Horney's ideas differ from those of Freud? ›

Departure From Freudian Psychology

While Horney followed much of Sigmund Freud's theory, she disagreed with his views on female psychology. She rejected his concept of penis envy, declaring it to be both inaccurate and demeaning to women.

What are the 4 stages of Schaffer and Emerson's stages of attachment? ›

For example, Schaffer and Emerson suggested that attachments develop in four stages: asocial stage or pre-attachment (first few weeks), indiscriminate attachment (approximately 6 weeks to 7 months), specific attachment or discriminate attachment (approximately 7-9 months) and multiple attachment (approximately 10 ...

What is one criticism of Schaffer's stages of attachment? ›

(1) POINT: A problem with Schaffer and Emerson's theory of the stages of attachment is that the asocial stage is difficult to study. EXAMPLE/EVIDENCE: For example, young babies in this stage have poor co-ordination and are generally pretty much immobile.

What is a weakness of the Schaffer and Emerson study? ›

The Schaffer and Emerson study has low population validity. The infants in the study all came from Glasgow and were mostly from working class families. In addition, the small sample size of 60 families reduces the strength of the conclusion we can draw from the study.

What are the main points of attachment theory? ›

There are four basic characteristics that basically give us a clear view of what attachment really is. They include a safe heaven, a secure base, proximity maintenance and separation distress. These four attributes are very evident in the relationship between a child and his caregiver.

What are the 4 types of attachment theory? ›

Bowlby identified four types of attachment styles: secure, anxious-ambivalent, disorganised and avoidant.

What is an example of attachment theory? ›

Attachment Styles in Children

Anxious: becomes extremely distressed when mommy leaves the room. When the mother returns, he is ambivalent: angry and happy at the same time. It takes him longer to calm down, and when he finally pacifies he angrily push the mother away, often followed by more tears.


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