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Attachment Style and Political Ideology: A Review of Contradictory Findings


Relational attachment style—a lifespan factor whose first manifestation at the age of 6 months continues into old age—has recently been theoretically and empirically linked to political ideology. A review of the literature that links these two constructs reveals a conflicting pattern. Secure attachment is predominantly associated with liberalism and its covariates, although the relationship is not robust, and there are some exceptions. Insecure avoidant attachment is associated with both liberalism and conservatism, along with their respective covariates. Finally, insecure anxious-ambivalent attachment is associated with covariates of conservatism. We propose a tentative distinction between motivational conceptualizations of attachment as a relational need and of attachment as a relational habit, which may help to clarify the relationship between attachment style and political ideology.

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