Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Parent and adult child, Attachment behavior, Emerging, Adults, Attachment, Parent, Parent figures, Reciprocal Attachment Questionnaire, RAQ, Pattern


This mixed methods study was created to explore the relatively unexplored nature of the primary attachment relationship between emerging adults and their parents/parent figures in the hopes of discovering to what extent the following attachment patterns—angry withdrawal, compulsive care giving, compulsive self-reliance, and compulsive care seeking—are represented in the relationship between emerging adults and their parents or parent figures; is an emerging adult's attachment pattern with her or his parent/parent figure mediated by particular characteristics of an emerging adult's life; and what specific desires do emerging adults have for the nature of the attachment relationship with their parent or parent figure? The study used a modified pre-existing instrument to ascertain the attachment patterns and one narrative question that focused on specific desires for the nature of the attachment relationship. The study utilized non-probability, purposive and snowball sampling. Thirty-five 18 to 25-year-olds who had a living parent or parent figure completed the online survey. Findings suggested that emerging adults place the highest value on authentic communication with their parents/parent figures, which has implications for informing family, individual, and group practices.




v, 86 p. : col. ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 62-68)