Adult attachment and preparing to provide care for older relatives
Attachment and Human Development
Taylor and Francis
A normative developmental task of middle-aged adults is to consider older family members' care needs. Preparing for future caregiving responsibilities may be an important way to prevent excessive stress responses when the caregiver role is taken on. The present study investigates the extent to which attachment style and dimensions of attachment insecurity predict whether middle-generation adults prepare for possible future caregiving responsibilities, feel prepared for these responsibilities and are satisfied with their preparation activities. Middle-generation parents of undergraduate students (N = 141) were sent questionnaires assessing adult attachment style, attachment insecurity, preparation for future care activities, feelings of preparedness, and satisfaction with preparation. Results suggest that secure attachment style and lower attachment insecurity had limited associations with preparation activities, whereas the associations with feelings of preparedness were more robust. Moreover, attachment variables predict feelings of preparedness even after controlling for the influence of actual preparation behaviors. Separate analyses for individuals already providing care vs. those not yet providing care suggest that secure attachment may be more important in predicting preparation activities for individuals not yet providing care.
Sörensen, S., Webster, J., & Roggman, L. (2002). Preparation for care giving and adult attachment. Attachment and Human Development, 4, 84-106.