Attachment Style, Parental Caregiving and Perceived Image of God

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Is adult perceived image of god related to attachment style, and if so, is it parallel to or compensatory for early or adult attachment style, and does early image of god influence adult attachment? One hundred and thirty-one undergraduates completed measures of their present adult attachment styles (Relationship Questionnaire, Bartholomew and Horowitz, 1991; Relationship Scales Questionnaire, Griffin and Bartholomew, 1994), parental caregiving styles experienced in growing up (retrospective early attachment), (Parental Caregiving Style, Hazan and Shaver, 1986} as well as of their adult and early (retrospective) perceived image of god (Wrathfulness Scale, Gorsuch, 1968) for the purpose of exploring the relationships between these variables. Adult attachment style was not shown to be related to adult perceived image of god except in terms of a positive relationship between the secure style (as measured by the Relationship Questionnaire) and perceived image of god. The more warm the parental caregiving style experienced, the more positive both the early and adult image of god; the colder the parental caregiving style, the more negative both the early and adult perceived image of god. No evidence was found for a relationship between early image of god and adult attachment style. As number of counseling sessions increased so did the incidence of the fearful attachment dimension and of a more negative perceived image of god while incidence of the secure attachment dimension diminished. The experience of romantic relationships was unrelated to adult attachment dimensions and to adult perceived image of god. Caucasians demonstrated a more negative adult perceived image of god than did African Americans. Adult perceived image of god appears to parallel parental caregiving style experienced and to a more limited extent adult attachment style. Both parents' caregiving styles parallel perceived image of god consistent with attachment theory. Suggestions are made for developing an enhanced perceived image of god measure that will enable further study of the relationship between perceived image of god and parental caregiving. It is also proposed that using adult attachment measures that delete reference to romance may yield an enhanced relationship with perceived image of god.