Attachment Styles and Life Goals of At-Risk Youth
The present research tested the effect of secure and fearful-avoidant attachment on prioritization of intrinsic life goals. Whereas intrinsic goals are indicative of intrinsic need satisfaction (e.g., personal growth, community engagement, relationships), extrinsic goals focus on attaining external rewards and praise by focusing on aspirations such as financial success, the "right"image, and fame (Kasser & Ryan, 1993). Securely attached individuals are autonomous and able to successfully form meaningful bonds, while those with fearful-avoidant attachment style desire to have relationships, but have a hard time bonding and trusting others (Connors, 2011). Support for the link between secure attachment and intrinsic life goals comes from predictions of self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000), which conceptualize life goals as attempts to meet underlying needs. Indeed, intrinsic motivation has been observed (e.g., more exploratory behaviors) in more securely attached infants (Bowlby, 1979), and intrinsic motivation can be quelled by the presence of uncaring teachers and adults (e.g., Ryan & Grolnick, 1986). Therefore, we hypothesized that secure attachment alone would predict greater prioritization of intrinsic life goals for at-risk youth.
Miller, Barbara, "Attachment Styles and Life Goals of At-Risk Youth" (2018). University Research Symposium. 100.