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Middle-Aged Adults' Close Relationships and Cultural Worldviews After Parents' Deaths

  • Author(s): Farkas, Timea
  • Advisor(s): Leaper, Campbell
  • et al.
Abstract

The present research was guided by attachment theory and terror management theory to test how middle-aged adults’ attachment orientations, close relationship quality, and conservative worldviews may be related to losing parents in middle adulthood. I also tested how unmitigated agency (UA) and unmitigated communion (UC) may have interacted with bereavement status to predict these outcomes. Bereaved and non-bereaved adults ages 50-65 filled out online questionnaires. I hypothesized that UA would be positively related to attachment avoidance and conservative worldviews and negatively related to relationship quality with partner and children, and that these relations would be stronger in the bereaved group than the non-bereaved group. I hypothesized that UC would be positively related to attachment anxiety and conservative worldviews and negatively related to relationship quality with partner and children and that these relations would be stronger in the bereaved group than the non-bereaved group. Partially supporting expectations, results showed that UA was positively related to avoidance only among the bereaved group. Contrary to expectations, UC was positively related to anxiety only among the non-bereaved group. Bereaved participants (regardless of UA or UC) also reported significantly higher relationship quality with their children compared to non-bereaved participants. Results are discussed in the context of attachment theory and UA/UC.

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