Georgiou , Maria (2008) Attachment influences on understanding of self and others: a cross-cultural study of British and Cypriot college students. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
The main purpose of the studies conducted in this thesis was to explore relations between attachment representations and individuals' understanding self and others. The first two studies focused on young adults, whereas Study Three involved a sample of children aged between 4 and 6 years. Study One investigated how (a) cultural differences in caregiving practices related to young adults' perceptions of their parents as being caring versus overprotective, (b) perceived parenting and culture impacted on attachment style in relationships with peers, and (c) representations of relationships with parents and peers related to individuals' self- esteem. Cypriot college students (n = 236) were compared with British university undergraduates (n = 168). Compared with their British counterparts, the Cypriot participants perceived their parents to have been more overprotective and were less likely to report secure attachment style in their relationships with peers. Regardless of culture, higher perceived parental care and secure or dismissing attachment style with peers were independently associated with higher self-esteem. The results of Study Two on a sample of 73 Cypriot college students showed that similar relations were observed between attachment representations and self- esteem when attachment was assessed in terms of unconscious internal working models (IWMs) of parental attachment relationships using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). Individuals classified as secure or dismissing on the AAI reported higher self-esteem than those in the preoccupied group. Study Two also addressed how attachment representations related to adults' theory of mind abilities, and investigated whether such abilities mediated the relation between attachment and self- esteem. Preoccupied attachment as assessed either by the AAI or self-reported attachment style with peers was associated with slower processing on an adult theory of mind task. However, there was no evidence for theory of mind abilities mediating the relation between attachment and self-esteem. Study Three investigated inter-relations between attachment representations, theory of mind, emotion understanding, and self-view in a sample of 80 Cypriot children with a mean age of 61.5 months. Secure attachment representations were associated with superior theory of mind and emotion understanding, but much weaker relations between attachment representations and self-view were found compared with the results on the adult samples in Studies Two and Three. Moreover, the one significant relation observed between attachment and self-view appeared to be indirect, and was mediated by children's emotion understanding. The results are discussed in terms of (a) the influence of perceived parental attachment on relationships with peers, (b) the discriminant validity of the IWM construct, and (e) the tendency of adults and children to use their mentalising abilities in interpreting and explaining other people's behaviour.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||08 Sep 2011 18:29|