Attachment styles, self-esteem, and patterns of feedback seeking from romantic partners

Document Type


Publication Date

January 1997

Publication Title

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin


Previous research indicates that persons with secure or dismissing attachment styles differ dramatically in their tolerance of and appreciation for intimacy; despite these differences, both types of individuals display high self-esteem. The two groups' interpersonal orientations suggest that their sources of self-esteem may differ. Secure individuals should derive self-esteem from warm associations with others, whereas dismissing individuals, lacking such associations, may learn to compensate by deriving self-esteem from alternative sources. To test these ideas, the authors related attachment styles to two distinct components of self-esteem-self-liking and self-competence. Overall, security was associated with self-liking, whereas dismissing avoidance was associated with self-competence. The former results were qualified somewhat by gender: Although females' security was associated solely with self-liking, males' security was associated with both self-liking and self-competence. Discussion focuses on the role of relationships in the maintenance of self-worth.


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