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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Sep;79(3):367-84.

Within-person variation in security of attachment: a self-determination theory perspective on attachment, need fulfillment, and well-being.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester, New York 14627, USA.


Attachment research has traditionally focused on individual differences in global patterns of attachment to important others. The current research instead focuses primarily on within-person variability in attachments across relational partners. It was predicted that within-person variability would be substantial, even among primary attachment figures of mother, father, romantic partner, and best friend. The prediction was supported in three studies. Furthermore, in line with self-determination theory, multilevel modeling and regression analyses showed that, at the relationship level, individuals' experience of fulfillment of the basic needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness positively predicted overall attachment security, model of self, and model of other. Relations of both attachment and need satisfaction to well-being were also explored.

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