Priming attachment security improves attitudes towards a range of therapies

Millings, Abigail, Carnelley, Katherine B, Cavanagh, Kate, Wilderspin, Anna, Wiseman, Hannah and Rowe, Angela C (2019) Priming attachment security improves attitudes towards a range of therapies. British Journal of Psychology, 110 (1). pp. 15-39. ISSN 0007-1269

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We sought to understand how attachment orientation influenced attitudes towards different types of psychological therapies. In 2 studies, we i) examined attachment orientation as a predictor of attitudes towards different therapies; and ii) tested whether attachment security priming could improve attitudes. Study 1 (n=339) found associations between attachment orientation and attitudes towards, and likelihood of using different therapies. Positive and negative attitudes about different therapies mediated the relationship between attachment avoidance and likelihood of use. Study 2 (n=412) showed that primed security (versus neutral-prime) improved attitudes towards relational, non-relational and distanced-relational therapies for those with a fearful-avoidant attachment orientation. For relational and distanced-relational therapies, the mechanism of this effect was increased cognitive openness. Attachment orientation is a determinant of therapy attitudes and anticipated help-seeking behaviour. Priming security may promote open-minded decision making about some therapies. Findings are discussed with relevance to attachment theory, research and clinical practice.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: therapy attitudes; attachment; therapeutic relationship; security priming
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2018 10:11
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2019 01:00

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Applying relationship science in contemporary interventionsG1249ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/L001365/1