Attachment Style, Friendship Quality and the Mediating Effect of Communication Skills in Young Adults Friendship: Literature Review

Ai Shin lim, Elijah E. T. Khoo, Ranon Earn Yueh


Bowlby’s attachment theory (1973, 1980, 1982) postulated that the prototypes for adult attachment styles are based on their infancy experiences with the primary care-givers. Such experiences give rise to what Bretherton (1990) called the internal working models, constituting views of self and others as a consequence of individuals’ relationships history. Bretherton (1990) further argued that the internal working models are rules, schemas or scripts that sum up a person’s past experiences. Closely related are Kobak and Hazan (1991) postulation that these models will influence the quality of close relationships that individuals develop later in life as they determine how individuals interpret and react in social situations. Furthermore, Batholomew and Horowitz (1991) conceptualized individuals’ differences in attachment into a four-category description styles (secure, preoccupied, dismissing and fearful). Various studies have shown that securely attached people usually communicate better, have higher quality friendship relationships and enjoy more intimacy and satisfaction in their relationships when compared to the insecurely attached group of people. Reis and Shaver (1998) showed that secure people self-disclose more than insecure individuals, leading to greater intimacy in their friendship relationships while anxious and avoidant people who have negative view of others tend to self-disclose less, leading to lower level of intimacy in their friendship relationships. Reis and Shaver (1988) and Kerns (1994) concurred  that appraisal of friendship quality involves reciprocity, self-disclosure and responsiveness from both parties.

However,  there is much lack of studies on the influence of attachment style of friends in a dyadic friendship relationship. 

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