Attachment and task persistence: attachment orientations, perception of teacher’s responsiveness, and adolescents’ persistence in academic tasks

Anat Ben-Gal Dahan, Mario Mikulincer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of the two studies reported here was to examine the contribution of adolescents’ attachment orientations (anxiety, avoidance) and their perception of teacher’s responsiveness to persistence in academic tasks. In Study 1 (N = 160), we assessed self-reports of persistence in schoolwork. In Study 2 (N = 240), we manipulated the symbolic presence of participants’ teacher (teacher priming) and assessed their actual persistence in a cognitive task. Across the two studies, attachment anxiety was associated with decreased persistence, and the perception of teacher as a responsive figure contributed to heightened persistence and buffered the detrimental effects of attachment anxiety. Study 2’s findings also showed that the beneficial effects of perceived teacher’s responsiveness on actual task persistence were found only when the teacher was made contextually salient but not when the teacher was not salient. We discussed the dispositional and contextual sources of attachment security that contribute to task persistence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-686
Number of pages22
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • adolescence
  • Attachment
  • responsiveness
  • task persistence
  • teacher–children relationship

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