Attachment security has many salutary effects in adulthood, yet little is known about the specific interpersonal processes that increase attachment security over time. Using data from 134 romantically committed couples in a longitudinal study, we examined trust (whether a partner is perceived as available and dependable) and perceived goal validation (whether a partner is perceived as encouraging one's personal goal pursuits). In concurrent analyses, trust toward a partner was uniquely associated with lower attachment anxiety, whereas perceiving one's goal pursuits validated by a partner was uniquely associated with lower attachment avoidance. In longitudinal analyses, however, the inverse occurred: Trust toward a partner uniquely predicting reduced attachment avoidance over time and perceived goal validation uniquely predicting reduced attachment anxiety over time. These findings highlight distinct temporal paths for bolstering the security of attachment anxious versus attachment avoidant individuals.
- close relationships
- personality development