The Relationship between Empathy and Insecure Attachment: Attachment Related Avoidance as a Predictor of Empathy in Adulthood.
(2017) The Relationship between Empathy and Insecure Attachment: Attachment Related Avoidance as a Predictor of Empathy in Adulthood., no. 59.
Previous research suggests that individuals with secure attachment are more likely to express higher levels of empathy in adulthood than insecure attached individuals. This study hypothesised that insecure attachment would be negatively associated with empathy, and that attachment avoidance would have a stronger negative relationship with empathy than attachment anxiety. A sample of 114 participants were tested for attachment related anxiety and avoidance in an online study. A significant negative correlation was found for the relationship between anxious attachment and empathy, (r = -.31, p <.01), and for the relationship between avoidant attachment and empathy, (r = -.40, p<.01). Regression analyses revealed that avoidant attachment accounted for 17% of the variance in empathy scores. Furthermore only avoidant attachment was found to significantly predict scores of empathy (beta= -.33, p<.01). Therefore the hypothesis that attachment avoidance is more strongly associated with empathy than attachment anxiety is supported.