Parenting Perceptions and Adult Attachment: An Exploration of Intergenerational Aspects of Parenting

Malky Mayerfield, Pace University


The literature on parenting is vast and encompasses a myriad of facets, including parents' perceptions, beliefs and cognitions. The parent developmental theory (PDT) provides a social learning and cognitive framework to explain the development and application of parental roles and beliefs. The PDT provides one explanatory framework regarding parenting. In contrast to addressing parenting perceptions and related behaviors, attachment theory describes how and why children cling to their caregivers and how individuals develop internal working models that inform future relationships. Although there is research regarding parenting and attachment, few studies compare attachment styles to parenting perceptions. The purpose of this study was to discover whether a relationship exists between attachment security and parental beliefs and perceptions. The participants in this research study completed the Parent Behavior Importance Questionnaire-Revised and the Adult Attachment Questionnaire. This study sheds light on aspects of parenting perceptions and adult attachment theory in relation to parenting. For individuals categorized as having an anxious attachment style, attachment security was significantly negatively related to all six parenting subscales of the PBIQ-R. No relationship was found between individuals with an avoidant attachment style and parenting perceptions. In terms of demographic variables, marital status and parental status were significant factors in the relationship between parenting and attachment. Results are discussed in relation to clinical and school psychology.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Mayerfield, Malky, "Parenting Perceptions and Adult Attachment: An Exploration of Intergenerational Aspects of Parenting" (2012). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3500922.



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