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Attachment styles do not change after migration

24 January 2008

Recent increase in migration from East to Western Europe motivates research on adjustment of Eastern European immigrants to the Western societies. The present study investigated the role of attachment styles in adjustment of Polish, Russian, and Hungarian immigrants living in the Netherlands. The attachment model of Bartholomew and Horowitz (1991) was used, in which four attachment styles are proposed: secure (characterized by a positive model of others and self), dismissing (characterized by a negative model of others and positive model of self), fearful (characterized by a negative model of others and self), preoccupied (characterized by a positive model of others and a negative model self).

It has been found that attachment styles are better predictors of immigrants’ psychological and sociocultural adjustment than demographic variables. Moreover, the findings indicated that the combination of the two features – highly secure and dismissing attachment – is likely to predispose individuals to migration. In addition, it has been shown that secure attachment is a better predictor of the well-being of immigrants than the well-being of non-immigrants. Further, it has been demonstrated that attachment styles are stable characteristics of individuals.No evidence suggested that attachment styles can change after migration. Finally, the survey conducted on children and parents in Poland, Russia, Hungary, and the Netherlands revealed that East Europeans are more preoccupied than their Western counterparts. This difference, as the present results suggest, exist mainly to differential parental practices in Eastern and Western Europe.


Date and time: 24 januari 2008, 14.45

PhD student: ms. E. Polek

Dissertation: Attachment in cultural context: Differences in attachment between East and West Europeans and the role of attachment styles in East European migrants' adjustment

Promotores: prof. J.P.L.M. van Oudenhoven and prof. J.F.M. ten Berge

Faculty: Behavioural and Social Sciences

Location: Aula Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Information: Ela Polek, tel. + 48513714385. e-mail:

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.38 p.m.

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