Attachment and social support in romantic dyads: A systematic review

Saul Mcleod, Katherine Berry, Catherine Hodgson, Alison Wearden

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Taking a dyadic perspective, this systematic review examined the relationship between attachment constructs and differences in support behavior in romantic couples.

Four databases were searched including PsychINFO, Embase, OVOID MEDLINE, and AMED. Out of 2,401 unique references, 43 met the study inclusion criteria.

The review findings offer validation for an attachment‐based model of support processes in couples. Maladaptive support behaviors were more likely to occur when one or both members of a romantic dyad had an insecure attachment. Individuals with an avoidant or anxious attachment were more likely to provide poor quality support, and when receiving support, to interpret it in a negative manner.

We recommend therapeutic interventions to help individuals with insecure attachments to follow more adaptive ways of support seeking, so social relationships are more able to offer a buffering effect against the development of mental health problems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Early online date30 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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