Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This mixed method study was undertaken to determine if successful professionals who are away from home for extended periods for work due to long hours and travel have particular types of close relationships, coping skills and identities. Secondly, the study examined whether their attachment styles as assessed by the quantitative measure, the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale -- ECR (Brennan, Clark and Shaver, 1998), revealed any relationships to their interview narratives concerning their professional successes, identities, close relationships in childhood and coping mechanisms. Using snowballing methods, successful professionals were recruited who had been in their careers for at least two years, had freely chosen these careers and were over 25 years of age. Participants were interviewed using a qualitative interview questionnaire and a quantitative self-report measure, the ECR. The 13 participants were asked to describe their views of their career paths and professional lives and to describe their coping skills at work related to these demands. They were also asked to describe both their current and childhood relationships with others, and to describe how they related to their current professional lives. The findings of the quantitative research showed the respondents' attachment styles to be mostly secure. Variations among the participants in attachment security scores were significantly related with the cohesiveness and integration of their qualitative narratives concerning childhood experiences, as well as to current personal and professional relationships (Main and Hesse, 1990). Of further significance for this sample was the fact that early adversity consistently formed the impetus for types of careers chosen and spurred the development of many skills and coping mechanisms used throughout professional life.


Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2008. iv, 105 p. Includes bibliographical references (p. 88-90)