Together Michelle Autrey and Kristen Couch offered a presentation evaluating the implications of attachment style and love languages in young women. This was a study the two students conducted for a 400-level Psychology class last semester.
Part of the study was inspired by John Bowlby, who discusses three attachment styles: secure, anxious-ambivalent, and avoidant. Secure people view stressors as being manageable and within their control. Anxious-ambivalent people are more hostile and view stressors as being overwhelming. Finally, avoidant people are likely to rely mainly on themselves, and will generally avoid fostering romantic relationships with others. Autrey and Couch also discuss “love languages” and explore ways of expressing love, such as doing the significant other a favor or giving them a gift.
The purpose of their study was to “evaluate implications of attachment styles among college women as it relates to preferred expressions of love.” They studied Agnes Scott College students in lower-level psychology courses and gave them one hour to complete a form provided for data collection. Autrey and Couch discovered from the study that people with anxious-ambivalent attachment style prefer words of affirmation as a primary love language.
It appears from the data that words of affirmation could be a powerful tool to help cope with stress. However, Autrey and Couch note that there were some issues with their research. This is a new area of research they delved into, and the sample size was small and contained very little diversity among the students. In the future, they hope to widen the sample pool and focus on the connection between support, love languages, and attachment style.