An investigatory study into the relationship between attachment style, stress and coping, and levels of alcohol dependence

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King, Simon
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the role attachment styles play in individual's coping behaviours, in particular, to investigate whether individuals with insecure attachment styles were more likely to perceive life events as being stressful. The study also looked at levels of alcohol dependence to ascertain whether differences in coping strategies result in higher levels of alcohol dependence. In a cross-sectional, between-subjects design, 70 participants (male = 34, female 36) from the general public participated. Questionnaires used were the Relationship Questionnaire (RQ) (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) (Cohen et al., 1983), the Coping Responses Inventory (CRI) (Moos, 1990), and the Alcohol Dependence Scale (ADS) (Skinner and Allen, 1982). Predictor variables were attachment style, age and gender. Criterion variables were total PSS score, total CRI scores in relation to individual coping responses, and total ADS score. There was no significant difference between secure and insecure attachment style in relation to perceived stress ( t(68) .873, p>0.05, 2-tailed). There was a significant difference found in relation to coping strategies, with the securely attached group proving more likely to adopt Approach coping strategies ( t(68) .000, p< 0.01, 2-tailed). A multiple regression analysis found no significant correlation between avoidant coping responses and alcohol dependence. Results indicated that secure attachment fosters more positive approaches to dealing with stressful problems, and hence lower levels of alcohol dependence.