This study examined whether people can be insecurely attached to figures who are actively sought out (and not just desired) to fulfill attachment functions and whether this has negative consequences for psychological well-being. A total of 122 participants rated 3-15 relational targets on measures including the extent to which the target fulfills important attachment functions and the attachment style characterizing the relationship. Participants also completed general measures of well-being and attachment style. We specifically focused on targets who could be classified as attachment figures based on the WHOTO and examined the attachment style characterizing these relationships. Results show that a significant proportion of attachment bonds can be characterized by insecurity, which has consequences both for the extent to which these attachment figures can fulfill important attachment functions and for overall well-being. The discussion considers the implications of these results for attachment priming research and the distinction between attachment strength and security.

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Keywords Attachment security, attachment strength, attachment styles, well-being
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Journal Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Milyavskaya, M, & Lydon, J.E. (John E.). (2013). Strong but insecure: Examining the prevalence and correlates of insecure attachment bonds with attachment figures. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30(5), 529–544. doi:10.1177/0265407512461200