chapter  2
38 Pages

Attachment Styles and Internal Working Models of Self and Relationship Partners

Research on attachment sty/es-relatively coherent and stable pattems of emotion and behavior exhibited in close relationships-is based on the assumption that relational orientations are due to, or perhaps consist in, something called internRl worki'!fl m<Jdels of self and others (Bowlby, 1969; Collins & &ad, 1994; Shaver & Hazan, 1993). That is, attachment theory (Ainsworth & Bowlby, 1991), which emerged originally from psychoanalytic object relations theory, is in !arge patt a social-cognitive theory. It explains the continuity of attachment pattems over the life span, from infant-caregiver attachment to emotional bonds between adult lovers, in terms of cognitive models, partly conscious and partly unconscious, that persist over time. This chapter examines the working-models component of attachment theory in some detail, considering what it meant to Bowlby and has meant to subsequent attachment theorists, how it is similar to and different from other conceptions of social-cognitive structures (e.g., schemas and scripts), and how it might be productively researched.