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Aging Ment Health. 2014;18(1):4-10. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2013.775639. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

How avoidant attachment influences subjective well-being: an investigation about the age and gender differences.

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a Department of Psychological Studies , The Hong Kong Institute of Education , Hong Kong.


Intimate relationship is a significant factor that influences older adults' subjective well-being. Avoidant attachment reflects a basic working model regarding interpersonal relationships. The current study aims to test how age and gender moderate the effect of avoidant attachment to spouse on subjective well-being. Fifty-six married couples aged from 20 to 79 years in Hong Kong were recruited for the study. Their avoidant attachment to spouse and subjective well-being were measured by questionnaires. In general, avoidant attachment to spouse was found to undermine subjective well-being. More importantly, age significantly moderated the negative association between avoidant attachment and subjective well-being, but the direction of the moderating effect was opposite for husbands and wives. Compared with their younger counterparts, the detrimental effect of avoidant attachment on subjective well-being was weaker for older wives but stronger for older husbands. The results suggest that marital relationship may play different roles in different life stages for the two genders. In later adulthood, males may become more dependent on the marital relationship to maintain subjective well-being, whereas females can be relatively independent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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