Arm in Arm or at Arm's-Length? - Releases Surprising Research on Adult Attachment Styles

Queendom releases results from their study on attachment styles, and reveals how gender, age, and self-esteem, among other factors, can impact relationships.

MONTREAL, CANADA (MARKETWIRE) -- January 28, 2011, one of the web's foremost sources of personality, career, and IQ assessments, unveils some interesting results of their popular Relationship Attachment Test. Their study results indicate that there are many factors that can influence how secure we feel in intimate relationships.

Research on attachment styles highlights four main types: Secure (classified as being comfortable establishing close emotional bonds, but still able to maintain a sense of individuality and independence), Anxious-Ambivalent (fearful of being rejected or abandoned; respond by clinging to a partner), Dismissive-Avoidant (not fearful of being abandoned or rejected; little desire to develop a close bond), and Fearful-Avoidant (fearful of being rejected or abandoned; respond by distancing themselves emotionally and perhaps physically). included these four styles in their relationship attachment test, along with two additional ones: Dependent and Co-Dependent. The former refers to individuals who tend to take a submissive role in relationships and are entirely reliant on their partner to call the shots. The latter group is made up of people who are drawn to individuals who need to be "saved" (e.g. addicts); the co-dependents become enablers, creating a vicious cycle of needing to be needed by someone needy.

If one were to view each attachment style as a guest at a party, it would probably look something like this: The Secure type would be the host, catering confidently and compassionately to each guest. The Dismissive-Avoidant would be sitting away from the others, looking bored and gazing at his or her watch, deftly avoiding the Anxious-Ambivalent - who in turn would be hovering from guest to guest, yearning to strike up a conversation. The Fearful-Avoidant would be in a far corner observing, earnestly wanting to join in the fun but worried about getting his or her hopes up. The Dependent, would be gazing at the Co-Dependent for a look of approval, and carefully listening to every word of the latter's advice about how to act, what to say, and what to eat - which the Co-Dependent will offer without needing to be asked. While this may be a lighthearted way of looking at attachment styles, in reality, each style does have a significant impact on relationship satisfaction, and is often reflective of how we feel about ourselves.

After reviewing data from over 2,000 test-takers, Queendom's study reveals that the majority of their sample (75%) was Securely attached. This was followed by the Fearful-Avoidant attachment style (12%), Dismissive-Avoidant (6%), Anxious-Ambivalent (3%), Co-Dependent (3%), and Dependent (2%). When digging deeper however, interesting results were revealed. For instance, while 75% of women were classified as Secure, the men's results were slightly lower, at 69%, and at least 1% higher than women on the other five unhealthy styles, with Fearful-Avoidant coming in second at 14%.

"This was a bit of a surprise," explains Dr. Jerabek, president of the company. "However, men may be less at ease with revealing their feelings to a partner and, in essence, being "vulnerable", which is something that those with a Secure attachment style are comfortable doing. Intimacy and bonding involves depending on others, having others depend on you, and being open to each other's feelings…not exactly what some men would classify as 'macho'."

And that's not the only surprising discovery Queendom's study uncovered. Interestingly, men between the ages of 30-39 were the least likely to form secure attachments among the age groups studied, an issue, Dr. Jerabek theorizes, that relates to the onset of the parenting years, where intimacy and alone time for a couple may start to wane. "We will need a larger population of men for our study in order to come to definite conclusions, but the initial results are fascinating and the differences quite dramatic," concludes Dr. Jerabek.

When comparing attachment styles for different age groups, those in the 25-29 age range, for both genders, tended to be the most Secure. When Queendom analyzed only single people, both men and women in the 40+ age group were more likely to have a Secure attachment style. "This is quite noteworthy for 40+ women who break away from the social stigma of not being married," remarks Dr. Jerabek. "Women at this age are often settled in their career and most importantly, they are self-sufficient and know what they want. They won't sit around pining for someone or play games - and they won't settle for just anyone, just for the sake of being in a committed relationship."

Other interesting findings from's Relationship Attachment study:

  • Those who own more than 3 credit cards are much more likely than those who own only 1 to have difficulties managing their money and to use shopping to feel better. They are also more likely to have trouble with impulse control.
  • 77% of people in a relationship have a Secure attachment style, compared to 74% of single people. The latter are slightly more likely to be Dismissive-Avoidant (6%) and Fearful Avoidant (14%).
  • Of those who are satisfied with their relationship, 84% have are securely attached, compared to 73% for those who are somewhat satisfied, and 63% for those who are not satisfied.
  • 78% of those who consider their relationship stable and long-term have a Secure attachment style. Of those who did not consider their relationship stable and long-term and those who were unsure of the future of their relationship, 68% were Secure.
  • Dismissive-Avoidant women's self-esteem was almost as high as the Secure women (77 vs. 83, on a scale from 0 to 100). Ditto for Dismissive-Avoidant men (71) and Secure men (79).

Those who wish to take the Relationship Attachment Test can go to

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