College of Arts & Sciences

Date of Award

Winter 12-1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

James N. Olson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gary W. McCullough, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Susan Lara, Ph.D.


The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between obsessive-compulsive symptoms and disorders in adults and lack of secure childhood attachment. An additional hypothesis was that obsessive-compulsive individuals would most closely fit an avoidant pattern of adult attachment. A group of obsessive-compulsive adults, a group of adults with other emotional symptoms, and a normal group of adults representing the general population were measured using the Maudsley Obsessional-Compulsive Inventory, the Parental Bonding Instrument, the Attachment Style Questionnaire and Bartholomew’s Four-Group Model of Attachment. Results did not confirm a relationship between insecure childhood attachment and obsessive-compulsiveness. However, obsessive-compulsive subjects were found to be fearful avoidant, while normal subjects were found to be secure. Subjects in the middle group did not fit a specific attachment pattern. Possible explanations for the outcomes, limitations of the present study, and implications for further research were presented.



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