Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Attachment behavior, Attachment disorder, Interpersonal relations, Mixed methods research, Attachment, Earned- secure, Relationship


This study was undertaken to explore what relationships appear to contribute to the development of an earned- secure attachment with a specific focus on the type and quality of the relationship. Well over 1,000 people received the study through social media requesting participation in a SurveyMonkey survey consisting of 3 screening questions, 14 demographic questions, 6 multiple choice questions, and 4 open ended questions. The screening and demographic questions allowed the 1,035 participants to be categorized by attachment style. The survey items assessed most important current relationship type and quality. The findings of this research corroborated with previous studies that a non-family member is not more likely than a family member to be the relationship that enables the development of earned- secure attachment. My findings also support that participants identified with earned- secure attachment experienced significantly more loss, abuse, or trauma than continuous- secure participants, as well as reported significantly more that they experienced challenges and have since worked through them. Findings that were not significant are discussed in reference to the limitations of this study and further research is suggested.




v, 65 pages : color illustration. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 48-53)