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Attachment Theory and Romantic Relationships

Title: Attachment Theory and Romantic Relationships: An Inquiry into the Life Stories of Missionary Couples.
Name(s): Mills, Kathleen Susan, author
Rehm, Marsha, professor directing dissertation
Brower, Ralph, outside committee member
Hicks, Mary, committee member
Readdick, Christine, committee member
Department of Family and Child Sciences, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2009
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: A basic principle found in attachment theory is that the relationship a young child shares with his or her primary care provider supplies the prototype for later relationships into adulthood and throughout life. Working within the framework of attachment theory and combining a constructivist perspective, this study explored the life story narratives of selected missionary couples. The research questions guiding this study were: How are themes of attachment evident in the life stories of missionary couples? How are patterns of attachment evident in the current relationship? Are self-reported categories of attachment in romantic relationships the same as self-reported attachment to God? Data collection was accomplished by conducting open-ended, semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Interviews focused on life history and lived experiences. Beginning with each participant's earliest memory surrounding family of origin, the life story interview continued through current life experiences as a missionary and on to future goals. Two self-report attachment measures were utilized in the study. These measures assessed romantic attachment and attachment to God. The data was analyzed by fully transcribing participants' audio taped interviews. An interpretive approach was utilized. Life stories evoked rich accounts of participants' attachment relationships, which further reflected individual attachment styles. Some of the themes that were revealed included: significant difficulty in childhood, an individual who encouraged his or her faith and commitment to God, a sense that God was directing, commitment to marriage, and learning a better way. All participants offered suggestions for improved member care, which was found to be the most urgent need of the missionaries in this study. Participants in this study demonstrated that they were able to increase security, from insecure to a more secure attachment, with prolonged secure and committed experiences in marriage. Participants also changed attachment because of attachment to God. All participants found security in their marriage covenant and felt secure that their spouse and God would never leave them.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-2405 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Family and Child Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2009.
Date of Defense: December 5, 2008.
Keywords: Attachment Theory, Missionary Couples, Life Stories
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Marsha Rehm, Professor Directing Dissertation; Ralph Brower, Outside Committee Member; Mary Hicks, Committee Member; Christine Readdick, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Social service
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Mills, K. S. (2009). Attachment Theory and Romantic Relationships: An Inquiry into the Life Stories of Missionary Couples. Retrieved from