Do attachment styles affect the presence and search for meaning in life?

E. Bodner, Y. S. Bergman, S. Cohen-Fridel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The current work examines the connection between attachment theory and meaning in life (MIL) across adulthood, by inspecting attachment style differences on two dimensions of MIL: presence of meaning (PML) and search for meaning (SML). MIL and attachment measures were collected from 992 participants of three age-groups, young adults (21–30), established adults (31–49), and older adults (50–65). Multivariate analyses demonstrated that older adults scored higher on PML, while younger adults reported more SML. In general, securely attached individuals demonstrated more PML and less SML than participants with insecure attachment styles, and individuals with a fearful attachment style displayed more SML than other attachment styles. Age interacted with attachment, as dismissive young adults displayed less SML, and gender differences were revealed in PML among established adults with regard to the preoccupied and fearful attachment styles. Finally, a three-way interaction of attachment × age × gender was found for PML, as in the established adults, both preoccupied men and fearful women reported a decline in PML, while older women with secure attachment reported higher levels of PML. While in accordance with the developing literature in the field of positive psychology, the current findings shed light on the manner by which the connections between attachment styles, age and gender are associated with the presence and the search for MIL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1059
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number5
Early online date2 Aug 2013
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Age differences
  • Attachment
  • Gender
  • Life-cycle
  • Meaning in life


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