Attachment Theory as a Relational Framework for Positive Psychology

Mario Mikulincer, Phillip R. Shaver

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this chapter, we consider the possibility that attachment theory provides a strong, researchable relational framework for positive psychology. We first present a brief overview of attachment theory and discuss the role that the sense of attachment security plays in fostering physical and mental health, social adjustment, and psychological growth. We then review evidence showing that chronic (i.e., dispositional, trait-like) as well as contextual activation of mental representations of attachment security attenuates defensive motives that might otherwise distort social perception and cognition and lead to interpersonal and intergroup conflict. We also summarize evidence for the claim that attachment security, which can be experimentally enhanced, acts as a growth-enhancing agent, fostering prosocial motives and cognitions, promoting personal development and improved relationships, and leading to the development of what classic personality theorist Carl Rogers (1961) called a “fully functioning person.”.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780199396511
StatePublished - 7 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2021.


  • Attachment
  • Close relationships
  • Coping
  • Mental health
  • Psychological growth
  • Resilience
  • Security


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