The roles of autonomy-connectedness and attachment styles in depression and anxiety

Marrie H.J. Bekker, Marcel A. Croon

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study examined how autonomy-connectedness and attachment styles relate to depression and anxiety among 69 clients at a primary mental health care institution and 105 non-clients. We expected poor autonomy-connectedness (i.e., low self-awareness, low capacity for managing new situations, and high sensitivity to others) and insecure attachment to predict depression and anxiety. Clients, compared with non-clients, differed on all study variables. Anxious attachment was a strong predictor of depression and anxiety. Both sensitivity to others and capacity for managing new situations directly predicted anxiety; and, like self-awareness, had indirect effects, via anxious attachment, on both anxiety and depression. Results underscore the importance of autonomy-connectedness (in addition to insecure attachment) in treating anxiety and depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-923
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • anxiety
  • attachment styles
  • autonomy
  • connectedness
  • depression
  • primary health care


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