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Meaning Through Attachment: An Integrative Framework
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Personality, Social and Developmental Psychology.
2019 (English)In: Psychological Reports, ISSN 0033-2941, E-ISSN 1558-691X, Vol. 122, no 6, p. 2242-2265Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We propose an integrative framework, advancing attachment as a vital factor in the development and maintenance of meaning throughout life. First, early attachment experiences provide a foundation for recognizing patterns and acquiring a sense of order and coherence. Furthermore, interactions with sensitive attachment figures stimulate mentalization capacities and exploration of the inner and outer environment, enabling the formation of complex representations of self, others, and the world, ultimately also molding how individuals appraise meaning in their lives. Second, attachment security can serve as an enduring and powerful resource for handling threats to meaning. When confronted with disruptions to meaning, secure attachment provides a coherent set of representations to fall back on and maintain or regain a firm sense of order and meaning under challenging circumstances. Moreover, by promoting cognitive openness and tolerance of ambiguity, secure attachment facilitates flexible and realistic adjustment of meaning representations when encountering discrepant information.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 122, no 6, p. 2242-2265
Keywords [en]
meaning, attachment, development, meaning maintenance
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-173232DOI: 10.1177/0033294118799739ISI: 000485991600013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-173232DiVA, id: diva2:1351913
Note

This work was supported by the Research Foundation Flanders (1109417N) and the John Templeton Foundation (grant no. 51897).

Available from: 2019-09-17 Created: 2019-09-17 Last updated: 2019-10-14Bibliographically approved

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